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Bristol scientist honoured

Press release issued: 3 December 2001

Bristol scientist honoured

A scientist at Bristol University has been honoured with the Paul Dirac Medal and Prize by the Institute of Physics in its 2002 Awards for his outstanding contribution to theoretical physics in the areas of quantum mechanics, classical mechanics and optics.

Over more than a quarter of a century, John Hannay, Professor of Theoretical Physics, has made a series of major contributions to theoretical physics.

His work in quantum mechanics has provided crucial links between the quantum and the classical world. In particular, his sum rule provided the bridge between quantum energy levels and the geometry of classical orbits, while his development of the "quantum cat map" introduced number theory to quantum chaology and was the first model in that subject to be exactly solvable. And his recent "chaotic analytic function" elegantly characterises the random waves underlying the quantum states of classically chaotic systems.

In classical mechanics the "Hannay angle" is the classical version of the so-called "Berry phase" in quantum mechanics, a well-known previous development in the Bristol Physics department, describing systems with slowly cycled external conditions.

His work in optics includes a path-based reformulation of standard diffraction theory, drawing connections with the Aharonov-Bohm effect of quantum mechanics, also developed in Bristol.

This premier award was first presented in 1987 to Professor Stephen Hawking.

Professor Eric Thomas, Vice-Chancellor, said: "As well as being a great personal distinction for Professor Hannay, this is a further reflection of the University's excellence in research."

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Copyright: 2001 The University of Bristol, UK
Updated: Monday, 03-Dec-2001 17:26:02 GMT

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