Why are soap bubbles round and salt crystals square? – Birmingham Popular Maths Lecture

Watson Building - Lecture Theatre A (R15 on campus map)
Wednesday 27 March 2019 (19:00-20:00)

Eleanor Mestel, Outreach and Schools Liaison Officer mathsoutreach@contacts.bham.ac.uk

A Birmingham Popular Maths Lecture from Dr Ben Barber

Please note the date of this lecture has changed from Wednesday 27 February to Wednesday 27 March.

Soap bubbles are round.  Salt crystals are square.  Why are these shapes different?  And how do bubbles and crystals "know" which shape they should be?

This type of question is at the heart of many areas of physics and mathematics; similar problems were first considered in ancient Greece. Our search for an answer will involve trying to understand the relationship between size and shape.  How can we compare quite different shapes?  And what exactly might it mean to add shapes together?


The Birmingham Popular Maths Lecture series runs in the Watson Building (School of Mathematics) on the last Wednesday of each month, arriving from 6.30pm onwards for a 7pm start.

The Birmingham Popular Mathematics Lectures are open to all members of the public and the University who are interested in the study of Mathematics. They are particularly suitable for those studying Mathematics at A Level and we also welcome advanced GCSE students. Young people are welcome on their own, with parents or with a school group.

Registration is not required, though those travelling in a minibus should get in touch to confirm parking.

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