Extreme Control of Light and Sound Waves with Metamaterials

  • Speaker
  • Andrea Alù, Ph.D.Distinguished Professor, City University of New York (CUNY) Einstein Professor of Physics, CUNY Graduate Center,
    Founding Director, CUNY Advanced Science Research Center
Date & Time


Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium
160 5th Ave
New York, NY 10010 United States

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5:30 p.m. Doors open

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Lecture and Q&A

This lecture is part of “Waves,” the 2023 lecture series theme in mathematics and computer science. The equations that describe waves are crucial tools for understanding everything from how sound propagates to the behavior of quantum particles. This set of talks will explore the richness of the wave equation and its non-linear extensions in general relativity, particle physics, hydrodynamics, optics, quantum mechanics and electrodynamics.
2023 Lecture Series Themes
Biology: Microbiomes
Neuroscience and Autism Science: The Neuroscience of Sleep
Physics: The Third Quantum Revolution
Mathematics and Computer Science: Waves

About Simons Foundation Presidential Lectures

Simons Foundation Presidential Lectures are free public colloquia centered on four main themes: Biology, Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Neuroscience and Autism Science. These curated, high-level scientific talks feature leading scientists and mathematicians and are intended to foster discourse and drive discovery among the broader NYC-area research community. We invite those interested in the topic to join us for this weekly lecture series.

The field of metamaterials — artificial materials engineered at the nanoscale — has been rapidly evolving in the past two decades, demonstrating extreme wave phenomena and unprecedented control over wave propagation.

In this talk, Andrea Alù will discuss recent developments in this field of research, emphasizing the role of symmetries in establishing emerging optical and acoustic properties of metamaterials based on otherwise simple constituents. He will explore how geometrical rotations, suitably tailored perturbations and broken time reversal symmetry can be carefully engaged to tailor waves in robust and efficient ways, control their propagation, break Lorentz reciprocity and enable topological order, dualities and phase transitions. Finally, he will examine the underlying physical principles that span over many wave platforms, and their impact on practical technologies, from imaging, energy and sensing to computing and communications.

About the Speaker

Alù is a Distinguished Professor and the Einstein Professor of Physics at CUNY, where he also directs the Photonics Initiative at the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Roma Tre, Italy, and, after completing postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania, he became the Temple Foundation Endowed Professor at the University of Texas at Austin until 2018, when he joined the faculty at CUNY. Alù is a Simons Investigator in Physics and leads the Simons Collaboration on Extreme Wave Phenomena. He is fellow of seven professional societies, and has received several scientific awards, including the Blavatnik National Award in Physical Sciences and Engineering and the National Science Foundation’s Alan T. Waterman Award.

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