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Release: Immediate

Famed physicist to give UI Ida Beam Lectures March 23-26

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Sir Michael Berry, one of the world's most celebrated theoretical physicists and mathematicians, will lecture at the University of Iowa as an Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor March 23-26.

His free, public lecture, titled "Unweaving the Rainbow," is designed for non-scientists and will be presented at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 26 in Lecture Room 1 of Van Allen Hall. The physics of rainbows, which has been understood in increasing depth and detail over the centuries, explains such phenomena as twinkling starlight and the dancing patterns of sunlight on the bottom of a swimming pool.

Other lectures, all scheduled for Van Allen Hall, include:

* "Extreme Twinkling, and its opposite," 1:30 p.m., Monday, March 23, Room 309.

* "Chaos and classical limits," 3:30 p.m., Monday, March 23, Room 301.

* "Quantum mechanics and the Riemann zeros," Tuesday, March 24, Room 301.

* "Quantum indistinguishability," Wednesday, March 25, Room 309.

Sir Michael, professor in the department of physics, Bristol University, England, is known for his pioneering contributions to optics, quantum mechanics, classical and quantum chaos, and catastrophe theory. His honors and awards include: Fellow of the Royal Society of London (1982), Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society (1990), Paul Dirac Medal of the Institute of Physics (1990), Royal Medal of the Royal Society (1990), and Foreign Member of the National Academy of Sciences (1995).

His visit is being sponsored by the UI department of physics and astronomy and the Ida Beam Visiting Professor Program. Ida Beam, a native of Vinton, willed her farm to the UI Foundation in 1977. Her only university connection was a relative who graduated from the College of Medicine. With proceeds from the sale of the farm, the UI established a fund to bring a variety of top scholars to the university for lectures and discussions.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. Persons with disabilities who require an accommodation in order to participate should contact the department of physics and astronomy at 335-1688 by March 18.