IAS Distinguished Lecture

Cloaking and Transformation Optics


The speaker describes recent theoretical and experimental progress on making objects invisible to detection by electromagnetic waves, acoustic waves and quantum waves. For the case of electromagnetic waves, Maxwell's equations have transformation laws that allow for design of electromagnetic materials that steer light around a hidden region, returning it to its original path on the far side. Not only would observers be unaware of the contents of the hidden region, they would not even be aware that something was being hidden. The object, which would have no shadow, is said to be cloaked. The speaker will recount some of the history of the subject and discuss some of the issues involved.

About the speaker

Prof. Gunther Uhlmann obtained his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976. After postdoctoral positions at Harvard University, the Courant Institute and MIT, he joined the MIT faculty in 1980. He moved to the University of Washington in 1984. He is currently University of California Irvine Excellence in Teaching Chair in Mathematics and Walker Family Endowed Professor in Mathematics at the University of Washington.

Prof. Uhlmann's main current fields of interest are inverse problems, partial differential equations, microlocal analysis and scattering theory. He received the Sloan Fellowship in 1984 and Guggenheim Fellowship in 2001. He was an invited lecturer at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1998. He was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009 and Fellow of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) in 2010. In 2011, he was awarded the Bocher Prize by the American Mathematical Society and the Kleinman Prize by SIAM.

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