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An evening with physics and music

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  • Date 14 Jun 2018
  • Time 18:00-21:30
  • Category Music and performance

An evening with physics and music

On the occasion of 9th consecutive Condensed Matter Physics in the City conference, Royal Holloway has the pleasure to invite from the US two internationally acclaimed academics in physics and music respectively, for a unique public event.

Professor Laura Greene, the Francis Eppes Professor of Physics at Florida State University, Chief Scientist at the National MagLab and immediate past-president of the American Physical Society (APS) will talk about her research on superconductors in Windsor Building Auditorium. After the lecture, Professor Ian Hobson, celebrated performer, pianist and conductor will perform some of his favourite pieces of classical music in our iconic Picture Gallery.

The dark energy of quantum materials

Professor Laura Greene

6pm, Windsor Building Auditorium

Superconductors are fascinating quantum materials with applications that include the lossless transmission of electrical power, levitating trains, making huge magnetic fields, and detecting the tiniest magnetic fields.

Conventional superconductors were discovered in 1911 but the theoretical explanation did not come until 1957. High temperature superconductivity, discovered in 1986, is unconventional and we still don't have a theory that explains it. There are dozens of other types of unconventional superconductors that we cannot explain. 

In this lecture, Professor Greene will explore superconductivity and the bizarre behaviours of some quantum materials, and show some of the transformative applications. She will explain in simple terms what we do know, and give a perspective of how much we still have to learn. Superconductivity reminds her of the universe itself: we use it every day, it’s very useful, and mostly, we don’t know much about it!

Classical music piano performance

Professor Ian Hobson

8pm, Picture Gallery

Called “powerful and persuasive” by the New York Times, Ian Hobson is a musician of tremendous versatility who has earned an international reputation as a pianist, conductor and educator. He is recognised for his command of an extraordinarily comprehensive repertoire, his consummate performances of the Romantic masters, his deft and idiomatic readings of neglected piano music old and new, and his assured conducting from both the piano and the podium.

Laura Greene is the chief scientist at the National MagLab, the Francis Eppes Professor of Physics at Florida State University, and the immediate past-president of the American Physical Society (APS). Her research is on fundamental studies quantum materials, including high-temperature superconductivity.

Professor Greene plays an active leadership role in numerous science organizations. In APS, her presidential theme was science diplomacy on national and international scales and its application to human rights. She is a vice president of the Executive Council of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics whose mission is to stimulate and promote international cooperation in physics. A champion for diversity and equal rights for women and minorities, Greene is a member of the U.S. Department of State-supported COACh team, which promotes the success and impact of women and all young scientists, particularly in developing countries. Greene also serves on the Board of Directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and currently co-chairs the Decadal Survey for Materials Research for the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

Professor Greene is a member of the NAS, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Physics (U.K.), the AAAS, and the APS. She has been a Guggenheim Fellow and garnered numerous awards, including the E O Lawrence Award for Materials Research from the US Department of Energy, the APS Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award, and the Bellcore Award of Excellence. She has co-authored over 200 publications and presented over 500 invited talks.

Ian Hobson is an English pianist, conductor and teacher, and is a professor at Florida State University. His pianistic repertoire spans the baroque to the contemporary, but he specialises in the Romantic repertoire.

In addition to being a celebrated performer, Mr Hobson is a dedicated scholar and educator who has pioneered renewed interest in the music of such lesser known masters as Ignaz Moscheles and Johann Hummel. He has also been an effective advocate of works written expressly for him by a number of today’s noted composers, including Benjamin Lees, John Gardner, David Liptak, Alan Ridout, and Yehudi Wyner.

Mr Hobson also continues his concerts as music director of the Sinfonia da Camera, a professional chamber orchestra affiliated with the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and College of Fine and Applied Arts of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where Mr Hobson is the Swanlund Emeritus Professor of Music. Further recital and teaching engagements this season take Mr Hobson throughout the US and several times to South Korea, where he is a professor at the National University of Seoul.

​An artist of prodigious energy and resource, having to date amassed a discography of some 60 releases, including the complete piano sonatas of Beethoven and Schumann and a complete edition of Brahms’s variations for piano, Mr Hobson is also in the process of recording a complete edition – the most comprehensive to date – of  the works of Frédéric Chopin.


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An evening with Physics and Music - Physics - Music

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