5 October 2011
Venue: Lecture Theatre 3.401, Faculty of Engineering, 20 Symonds Street
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Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering seminar by Professor Denis Weaire FRS, School of Physics, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.
Liquid foam has a structure that has fascinated scientists for centuries, both in itself and in relation to properties such as rheology, coarsening and drainage. Lord Kelvin asked mathematical questions about it, setting off a debate that has continued since 1887. This received some publicity at the Beijing Olympics, in the (Weaire-Phelan) form of the Water Cube. This seminar will be the first announcement of the successful creation of the Weaire-Phelan foam in the laboratory.
Other recent experiments for very small bubbles (which maintain their spherical shape in foam) reveal fascinating structures and many features analogous to those of materials science at the atomic level. Here they are realised on a scale of millimetres and accessible to bench-top x-ray tomography.
Educated at the Belfast Royal Academy and Clare College, Cambridge, Professor Weaire has since held positions at the Universities of California, Chicago, Harvard and Yale, ultimately holding professorships at Heriot-Watt, and University College Dublin before becoming, in 1984, Erasmus Smith's Professor of Natural Philosophy in Trinity College Dublin. Denis is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and was awarded the Cunningham Medal of the Royal Irish Academy in 2005, and is a past-President of the European Physical Society.