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Physics and Astronomy

Physics & Astronomy Colloquium

3:30 PM, Friday, October 22, 2010
Room 155, Chem-Phys Building

Dr. David Arnett
Department of Astronomy
University of Arizona

John von Neumann's Dream and Werner Heisenberg's Nightmare
Turbulence has been a nemesis of physicists for over a century, dating back to the classical work of Osborne Reynolds. Heisenberg's dissertation was on this topic; he nearly flunked his oral defense. Mathematically speaking, turbulence is a fundamentally nonlinear problem, and in this sense is much less tractable than quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, and classical mechanics, for example. Von Neumann envisaged the use of computers to construct accurate numerical solutions of the turbulence equations, and the study of these to provide the insight necessary for constructing a quantitative mathematical theory of turbulence. The talk will present recent theoretical and numerical progress on turbulence in stars, including recent connections with chaos theory.

Refreshments will be served in CP 179 at 3:15 PM