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On Monday 23 February 2015 (in the International Year of Light), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences will host a symposium entitled Fantastic Light, in celebration of the award of the Lorentz medal to Sir Michael Berry.

Event details of Fantastic Light
Date 23 February 2015
Time 15:00 -17:30
Bull's Eye Sky, image by Michael Berry
Sir Michael Berry, Lorentz medal laureaute

The British physicist Michael Berry, emeritus professor at the University of Bristol, is receiving the Lorentz medal 2014 for the development of the theory of the geometric phase, which plays an important role in both the classical and quantum mechanical theory of waves.

Michael Victor Berry (born 1941) studied physics at Exeter University and received his PhD from the University of St. Andrews. His subsequent academic career developed at the University of Bristol, where he is presently the Melville Wills Professor of Physics (Emeritus).

Berry received numerous national and international awards for his achievements, including the Royal Medal of the Royal Society and the Wolf Prize in Physics. He was elected member of the Royal Society of London in 1982 and was knighted in 1996. Since 2000, Berry has been a foreign member of the Academy.



  • 15:00 Opening by Christine Mummery, Leiden University, board member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 15:05 Knots of Light by Dirk Bouwmeester, Leiden University and UC Santa Barbara
  • 15:35 What Would You See Upon Falling in a Black Hole? by Erik Verlinde, University of Amsterda
  • 16:05 Seeing Through a Glass Darkly by Ad Lagendijk, University of Amsterdam
  • 16:35 Laudatio by Carlo Beenakker, Leiden University, Chair of the jury, and presentation of the Lorentz Medal to Sir Michael Berry
  • 16:45 Nature's Optics and Our Understanding of Light by Sir Michael Berry, University of Bristol
  • 17:30 Drinks


Entrance is free, but registration is compulsory

This event will take place at the Academy’s headquarters (Trippenhuis Building, Kloveniersburgwal 29 in Amsterdam). The press will have the opportunity to question the laureate prior to the symposium.