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Science for the “Real” World

Dr. Michael Berry: “A Dreamer and a Scribbler of Mathematics”

Michael BerryScience is not weird, remote or unconnected to the practical world around us, and Dr. Michael Berry makes this point in the essay “Living with Physics” that appears in One Hundred Reasons to be a Scientist. Science and the world are “connected in strange and wonderful ways,” he writes. A rough childhood and a family environment that wasn’t exactly conducive to pursuing education did not deter Berry from following a career in mathematical physics. And abstract as it may be, theoretical physics forms the basis of the practical inventions we use every day, Berry points out.

Berry tries to bust another myth about the scientific world in his essay. It is not, he writes, a world where “scientists are at each other’s throats, fighting to get their discoveries published before other people, competing for research money.” Instead, he thinks that scientists are “much cleverer together than separately, so it makes sense to cooperate.”

In 1995, Berry was presented with the Dirac Medal from ICTP for “his discovery of the non-integrable phase that arises in adiabatic processes in quantum theory”. A fellow of the Royal Society of London since 1982 and editor of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society, Berry continues his journey in science where “you’re floating on a cloud for days” even when you discover something small.


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