Advanced Physics Seminars : Prof. Scott Russel WAITUKAITIS "From rabbits to planets: the enduring mystery of contact electrification" (25-29 April 2022)

During the Advanced Physics Seminars, Prof. Scott Russel WAITUKAITIS (Institute of Science and Technology, Autriche) will give a seminar entitled "From rabbits to planets: the enduring mystery of contact electrification" from April 25 to April 29, 2022.


Every physics student has probably seen the following demonstration: a balloon is rubbed on a person’s hair, causing many strands to jump up and stick like glue. This occurs because the hair and balloon become oppositely charged during their interaction, an effect known as contact electrification (CE). Beyond balloons and hair, CE occurs when any two materials touch, and is important in realms ranging from biology to planet formation. It has been described dating back to Ancient Greece, making it one of the oldest documented topics of scientific inquiry. Surprisingly, despite its ubiquity, its widespread relevance, and its long history, we physicists are unable to explain how it occurs. In this seminar series, I will present the highlights of the enduring mystery of contact electrification. We will start with its long history and the many situations where it is important. Though relatively few, we will learn from the major breakthroughs, in particular with relation to metal-metal contacts. Finally, we will look at the state of the art in CE with insulators, dissecting the most recent models and experiments. Our journey will illustrate how beautiful, complex, and meaningful science is all around us, sometimes hidden in plain sight.


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Introduction - open to all : Mon. 25 Apr. 15:45-17:45 (Room R30, B6d)


Tue. 26 Apr. 10:30-12:30 (Room 0/4, B5b) 

Wed. 27 Apr. 08:15-10:15 (Room R43, B5a)

Thu. 28 Apr. 10:30-12:30 (Room R43, B5a)

Fri. 29 Apr. 10:30-12:30 (Room R43, B5a)


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