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Professor Pierre-Gilles de Gennes will be the first speaker for a new annual lecture honoring Professor Emeritus Ronald F. Probstein of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
His talk, "From Rice to Snow: Ideas and Disputes about the Mechanics of Granular Materials," will take place on Tuesday, March 16 at 4pm in Wong Auditorium (Building E51). A reception will follow. In the lecture, Professor de Gennes will discuss the disagreement, and some clarifications, about the statics of a heap of sand. Experts from mechanics describe the stress distribution by elliptic equations, while some physicists use hyperbolic equations.
Professor de Gennes was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1991 for discovering that methods developed for studying order phenomena in simple systems can be generalized to more complex forms of matter. He teaches at the ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½cole Superieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles, College de France.
A version of this article appeared in the March 10, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 43, Number 22).