Michael Berry

Michael Berry holding Lorentz Medal
Michael Berry with Lorentz Medal, February 2015
Michael Victor Berry

(1941-03-14) 14 March 1941 (age 83)
Surrey, England, United Kingdom
Alma materUniversity of Exeter (BSc)
University of St. Andrews (PhD)
Known forBerry phase
Berry connection and curvature
Berry–Robbins problem
Berry–Tabor conjecture
Weyl–Berry conjecture
Quantum carpet
Quantum chaos
AwardsMaxwell Medal and Prize (1978)
Fellow of the Royal Society (1982)
Lilienfeld Prize (1990)
Royal Medal (1990)
IOP Dirac Medal (1990)
Naylor Prize and Lectureship (1992)
ICTP Dirac Medal (1996)
Knight Bachelor (1996)
Wolf Prize (1998)
Ig Nobel prize (2000)
Onsager Medal (2001)
Pólya Prize (2005)
Lorentz Medal (2014)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Bristol
ThesisThe diffraction of light by ultrasound (1965)
Doctoral advisorRobert Balson Dingle[1]
Doctoral studentsJenny Nelson
Jonathan Keating

Sir Michael Victor Berry, FRS, FRSE, FRSA, HonFInstP (born 14 March 1941) is a British mathematical physicist at the University of Bristol, England.

He is known for the Berry phase, a phenomenon observed e.g. in quantum mechanics and optics, as well as Berry connection and curvature. He specializes in semiclassical physics (asymptotic physics, quantum chaos), applied to wave phenomena in quantum mechanics and other areas such as optics.

Early life and education

Berry was brought up in a Jewish family and was the son of a London taxi driver and a dressmaker.[2] Berry earned a BSc in physics from the University of Exeter where he met his first wife (a sociology student with whom he had his first child)[3] and a PhD from the University of St. Andrews.[4] His thesis is titled The diffraction of light by ultrasound.[5]

Career and research

He has spent his whole career at the University of Bristol. He was a research fellow, 1965–67; lecturer, 1967–74; reader, 1974–78; Professor of Physics, 1978–88; and Royal Society Research Professor 1988–2006. Since 2006, he is Melville Wills Professor of Physics (Emeritus) at Bristol University.[6]


Awards and honours

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1982[9] and knighted in 1996.[10] From 2006 to 2012 he was editor of Proceedings of the Royal Society A.

Berry has been given the following prizes and awards:[11]

See also


  1. ^ Michael Berry at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ Rubinstein, William D.; Jolles, Michael; Rubinstein, Hilary L. (2011). The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 87. ISBN 9781403939104.
  3. ^ "BBC Newshour". Retrieved 21 January 2024.
  4. ^ "Academic History of Professor Sir Michael Berry". University of Bristol. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  5. ^ Berry, Michael (1965). The diffraction of light by ultrasound (PhD thesis). University of St. Andrews. hdl:10023/22569. OCLC 1507853.
  6. ^ "History". PROFESSOR SIR MICHAEL VICTOR BERRY, FRS. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2023.
  7. ^ Longair, M. S. (1991). "Book review: Principles of cosmology and gravitation by M. V. Sims". Space Science Reviews. 56 (1–2): 246. Bibcode:1991SSRv...56..246L. doi:10.1007/BF00178416. S2CID 189795860.
  8. ^ "Professor Sir Michael Berry - Our People". University of Bristol, UK. Retrieved 24 November 2023.
  9. ^ "Fellows Directory". The Royal Society. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  10. ^ "The London Gazette" (PDF). HMSO. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Professor Sir Michael Berry: Prizes and Awards". University of Bristol, UK. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
  12. ^ "LMS-NZMS Forder and Aitken Lectureships | London Mathematical Society". Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  13. ^ "China building "Artificial Moon" that simulates low gravity with magnets". Recurrent Ventures. Retrieved 17 January 2022. Interestingly, the facility was partly inspired by previous research conducted by Russian physicist Andrew Geim in which he floated a frog with a magnet. The experiment earned Geim the Ig Nobel Prize in Physics, a satirical award given to unusual scientific research. It's cool that a quirky experiment involving floating a frog could lead to something approaching an honest-to-God antigravity chamber.
  14. ^ Stephen Chen (12 January 2022). "China has built an artificial moon that simulates low-gravity conditions on Earth". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 17 January 2022. It is said to be the first of its kind and could play a key role in the country's future lunar missions. Landscape is supported by a magnetic field and was inspired by experiments to levitate a frog.
  15. ^ Berry, Michael (2003). "Making light of mathematics: 75th Gibbs Lecture". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. (N.S.). 40 (2): 229–237. doi:10.1090/S0273-0979-03-00972-8. MR 1962297.
  16. ^ "Thomson Reuters Predicts Nobel Laureates". Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  17. ^ "Michael Berry". KNAW. Retrieved 3 April 2022.