Thursday Talks - 24/11/2016

Thursday Talks 24/11/2016


2016 Nobel Prize in Physics

Speaker: Antonio Strkalj (Institute for Theoretical Physics, ETH Zurich).

The recent Nobel prize in physics was awarded to David Thouless, Duncan Haldane, and Michael Kosterlitz for using modern mathematical techniques in topology as a tool to explain strange phenomena in unusual phases (or states) of matter. Examples of such unusual phases are found in superconductors, superfluids or thin magnetic films. Kosterlitz and Thouless have studied phenomena that arise in a flat world – on surfaces or inside extremely thin layers that can be considered effectively two-dimensional. Haldane has studied matter that forms threads so thin they can be considered one-dimensional. In my talk, I will explain the importance of their finding and its impact on contemporary physics.

People say no, Oslo says Nobel – Santos and the Colombian peace process

Speaker: Dr. Enzo Nussio (Centre for Security Studies, ETH Zurich).

Within just one week in early October, Colombians collectively felt despair, hope, sadness, and pride. The background for this emotional rollercoaster was the referendum vote against the peace accord between the government and the FARC guerrilla and the Nobel peace prize award for President Juan Manuel Santos. This talk explains why Colombia has such a hard time to turn the page of war and how a mainstream politician became a leader for peace.