Annual Phi Beta Kappa Lecture at UA to Feature Martin Golubitsky

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dr. Martin Golubitsky will present this year’s Allen Going Lecture event titled “Symmetry in Chaos: Patterns on Average,” on Thursday, April 6, at 7:30 p.m., in 125 ten Hoor Hall on The University of Alabama campus.

The presentation, sponsored by Phi Beta Kappa, is free and open to the public, as is a post-lecture reception.

Golubitsky, the Cullen Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at the University of Houston, is a specialist in dynamical systems and the author of numerous research papers and advanced textbooks.

Dr. Alan Hopenwasser, lecture coordinator, says Golubitsky’s presentation will tap into a number of issues dealing with symmetry and will be of great interest to anyone fascinated by the ways people search for pattern and order in a sometimes chaotic world. The lecture, designed for a general audience, will discuss the following topics:

Chaos rides on the back of philosophical paradox: how can deterministic mathematical models produce random behavior?

There is a similar surprise regarding symmetry: symmetric causes can have asymmetric effects. This paradox is called symmetry-breaking. Recently researchers have shown it plays a major role in pattern formation in physical systems.

The way in which symmetry and chaos co-exist is a third paradox: symmetry suggests order and regularity, while chaos suggests disorder and randomness. This combination leads to a striking series of pictures and to a notion of pattern on average.

For more information on the lecture, contact Hopenwasser at 205/348-1979.


Lance M. Skelly, Office of Media Relations, 205/348-3782


Dr. Alan Hopenwasser, 205/348-1979