WFU Department of Physics Wake Forest University


Wake Forest Physics
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WFU Physics Colloquium

TITLE: A Descriptive Approach to the Geometric Phase

SPEAKER: Professor Matthew Rave,

Department of Physics
Western Carolina University

TIME: Wednesday November 6, 2013 at 4:00 PM

PLACE: Room 101 Olin Physical Laboratory

Refreshments will be served at 3:30 PM in the Olin Lounge. All interested persons are cordially invited to attend.


What do Möbius strips, a Chopin étude, Spirographs, Disneyland's Mad Tea Party ride, and quantum mechanics all have in common? In revealing the answer, we will investigate the geometric phase, which can be visualized as the interplay between the two characteristic periods of a closed orbit which go in and out of "synch". In this talk we will use several simple mechanical systems to illustrate two approaches to determining geometric phase: direct computation from the equations of motion, and the use of conservation laws. The elegant simplicity of this last approach can be explained by observing invariants under an action of the circle group on the torus. We conclude by describing in brief how the conservation law approach extrapolates to the general method of reduction by symmetry.

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100 Olin Physical Laboratory
Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, NC 27109-7507
Phone: (336) 758-5337, FAX: (336) 758-6142