Professor Sir Michael V Berry

Ph.D.(St.And.), B.Sc.(Exon.), Sc.D.(Dub.), F.R.S.

  • BS8 1TL

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Personal profile

Research interests

See Professor Sir Michael Berry's website for more details.

Many incompletely understood phenomena lurk in the borderlands between physical theories - between classical and quantum, between rays and waves... These borderlands - the domain of physical asymptotics - are my intellectual habitat, with an emphasis on geometrical aspects of waves (especially phase) and chaos.

A source of delight is uncovering down-to-earth or dramatic and sometimes beautiful examples of abstract mathematical ideas: the arcane in the mundane. Examples are:

  • mathematical singularities in rainbows and the patterns on the bottom of swimming-pools;
  • a laser pointer shone through irregular bathroom-window glass, illustrating abstract aspects of wave interference;
  • optics with transparent overhead-projector plastic sheets, illustrating polarization singularities, matrix degeneracies, and quantum measurement, and Anderson localization;
  • a levitating spinning-top, illustrating adiabatic stability and geometric phases;
  • twists and turns with a belt, illustrating the behaviour of identical particles in quantum mechanics, responsible for the impenetrability of matter, lasers, superconductivity...
  • Oriental magic mirrors, directly displaying the Laplacian.
  • Tsunamis, which are caustics in spacetime, and, when focused, spacetime caustics on a cusped caustic


Dive into the research topics where Michael V Berry is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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  • Emil Wolf and Bristol

    Berry, M. V., 5 Apr 2019, (Accepted/In press) Progress in Optics. Elsevier B.V., (Progress in Optics).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

  • Minimal model for tidal bore revisited

    Berry, M. V., 8 Jul 2019, In: New Journal of Physics. 21, 10 p., 073021.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

    Open Access
    9 Citations (Scopus)
    211 Downloads (Pure)
  • Roadmap on superoscillations

    Berry, M., Zheludev, N., Aharonov, Y., Colombo, F., Sabadini, I., Struppa, D. C., Tollaksen, J., Rogers, E. T. F., Qin, F., Hong, M., Luo, X., Remez, R., Arie, A., Götte, J. B., Dennis, M. R., Wong, A. M. H., Eleftheriades, G. V., Eliezer, Y., Bahabad, A., Chen, G., & 7 othersWen, Z., Liang, G., Hao, C., Qiu, C. W., Kempf, A., Katzav, E. & Schwartz, M., 18 Apr 2019, In: Journal of Optics (United Kingdom). 21, 5, 36 p., 053002.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

    Open Access
    103 Citations (Scopus)
    266 Downloads (Pure)