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The 77th Arthur H. Compton lecture series:

Frustrating geometry

Geometry and Incompatibility Shaping the Physical World Around Us

Efi From bending light near massive stars, through ruffling the edge of a Daffodil, to constraining the patterns in which atoms can organize in a crystalline solid, principles of geometry govern the behavior and form of our surrounding world. Nature, however, much like a preschool child, is often oblivious to fundamental geometric principles; for example natural processes may attempt to construct squares in which the sum of internal angles is not 360 degrees, or to grow the circumference of a circle faster than its radius. Constrained to obey the rules of geometry, such objects cannot fully satisfy their natural tendencies and are therefore said to be frustrated. This frustration often allows very simple mechanisms to form elaborate shapes and display exotic properties.
In these lectures, Dr. Efrati will present basic geometric principles in Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry and discuss the role of geometry and geometric frustration in shaping the physical world. The lectures will be centered on examples from everyday life and require no mathematical or scientific background; just bring your curiosity.