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K-State Today

October 8, 2013

I-Center Interdisciplinary Lecture Series begins today

By Marianne Korten

Flyer of Prf. Sorensen's lecture

The math department's Center for Integration of Undergraduate, Graduate, and Postdoctoral Research, or I-Center, announces Chris Sorensen, Cortelyou-Rust university distinguished professor, and university distinguished scholar in physics, as the inaugural speaker of the I-Center Interdisciplinary Lecture Series.

Sorensen's lecture "The Physics of Irregularly Shaped Particles" will take place at 2:30 p.m. today in 015 Eisenhower.

The lecture will discuss particulate matter as a major subset of our everyday world. Particles rarely have a simple geometric shape. Dusts, powders, various aggregates, smoke aerosols and colloidal suspensions are common examples. Mundane as this subject may seem to be, there are, in fact, "worlds in a grain of sand," and these worlds are a consequence of their non-regular shapes. As a particle physicist, Sorensen wants to know how to describe quantitatively their morphology, how they form as aggregates, how they scatter and absorb light, and how they move through a surrounding medium. Such curiosity has led him on an unlikely journey of discovery to find fractal structures with non-Euclidean dimensionality, networks that tenuously span space, power laws in scattering functionalities, and common themes between spirals, sunflowers and soot.

The lecture series talks will be accessible to non-specialists in the area, including advanced undergraduate students, and feature developing research in other sciences that is of interest to mathematicians. We also hope to have people from other departments and in the audience who may be interested in the subject.