December 7, 2016

‘The Life and Death of a Drop’

The AIMS South Africa Public Lecture Series presents a talk titled:

‘The Life and Death of a Drop’

By Prof. Sidney Nagel, Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor in Physics, James Franck Institute, Enrico Fermi Institute, and the College, The University of Chicago

Abstract: Because fluids flow and readily change their shape in response to small forces, liquid drops have frequently been used to model phenomena as diverse as the dynamics of star formation or the statics of nuclear shape. The exhilarating spray from waves crashing onto the shore, the distressing night time sound of a leaking faucet, or the indispensable role of bubbles dissolving gas into the oceans attest to their ubiquitous presence and profound importance in our everyday world. A liquid drop, as it breaks into pieces, is also an excellent starting point for investigating topological or shape transitions. Although part of our common experience, these changes are far from understood and upon careful investigation reveal delightful and profound surprises. In this lecture, I will give the life history of a liquid drop – from its birth to its eventual demise as it fades into memory – illustrating the passage of its existence with the scientific surprises that determine its fate. The commonplace is extraordinary!