Michael E. Fisher FRE HonFRSE - "PICTURES, MODELS, APPROXIMATIONS, and REALITY: Phase Transitions and the Role of Theory and Experiment"  Add To Calendar

  • Date(s): Wednesday, 4/24 2:30 PM to Wednesday, 4/24 4:00 PM
  • Speaker: Michael E. Fisher FRE HonFRSE
  • Host: David Hofman

 Date: April 24, 2013




Abstract: Ways in which theoretical physicists try to understand the real world as embodied in experimental observations will be explored. Through the medium of a domino game on a large checkerboard, the rapier-like specific heat of superfluid helium, and the visual effects seen when a liquid and its vapor merge to form a supercritical fluid, the talk will address the question: “What is the role of the theorist in modern science?” The power of analogy based on physical pictures and simple models will be illustrated in the context of ideas concerning phase transitions and critical phenomena in fluids and magnets. The significance of concepts of shape and singularity in the search for universality will be explained; the role of symmetry and dimensionality in our insights will be touched on.

The Kouvel Lecture Series April 2013