Institute of Breaking

Innovator Henry King and Physicists Heinrich Jaeger and Wendy Zhang discuss themes of "breaking" in their own investigations.
Tuesday, October 2, 6:00 p.m.
United States

This event is part of a two-day series of talks presented by the Institute of Breaking, an interdisciplinary collaboration between SAIC and the James Franck Institute and the College at the University of Chicago, bringing together voices from art, design, and science to explore new modes of artistic and scientific production and inquiry around this common theme.

Henry King is an independent innovation consultant and is currently a part-time SAIC faculty member. Heinrich Jaeger is an experimental physicist, professor, and director of the Chicago Materials Research Center. Wendy Zhang is a theoretical physicist and Associate Professor in the Department of Physics at the James Franck Institute and the College at the University of Chicago.

About the Speakers

Henry King: A Break from Tradition: From Stores to Flows

From store logic to flow sense: we are seeking a break in how we think about the world. For the last 10,000 years, we have made stores of animals, plants, ideas, money, people, water, and other potential resources in order to maximize their usefulness to us. Now is the time for a different approach.

Henry King is an independent innovation consultant, using the methods and tools of innovation and IT to help organizations and regions achieve their transformation goals. His client list includes organizations of all types and sizes in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the former Soviet Union. He is currently helping a commercial, nonprofit, and educational consortium design a new model for health and wellbeing in rural Appalachia. He is also helping design new school models in the United States and in the Middle East.

Henry King is a part-time faculty member and design council member of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he teaches in the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects and engages with students and interdisciplinary faculty in the areas of innovation, design, and creativity. King studied Classics at Oxford University. He has written on innovation themes in Businessweek and Fast Co. Design.

Dr. Heinrich Jaeger: Breaking Granular Fluids

What if the molecules in a liquid were 100,000 times larger than normal? This unfamiliar world of ultralow surface tension can be realized in fluids comprising seemingly simple granular material, for example, in jets of fine dry sand or in freely flowing powder streams. Jaeger discusses recent experiments where he and his team use high-speed video and computer simulations to track how granular fluids evolve and eventually break apart into droplets.

Heinrich Jaeger is an experimental physicist whose current research focuses on investigations of self-assembled nanoparticle structures, the rheology of dense suspensions, and on studies of the packing and flow of granular materials. He received his PhD in physics in 1987 and has been on the faculty at the University of Chicago since 1991, directing the Chicago Materials Research Center from 2001–06, and the James Franck Institute from 2007–10.

Dr. Wendy Zhang: What is the sound of a glacier breaking?

During the summer, glaciers in Greenland, which flow into the ocean, shorten in length by calving icebergs from their seaward edges. Icebergs that are long and narrow slabs capsize as they calve. Each capsize releases an enormous amount of energy into the surrounding environment. It also gives rise to long-period seismic waves detectable over the entire earth.

At present we do not understand how the energy released by an iceberg capsizing is subsequently partitioned among processes such as mixing of the stratified ocean water, compression of the ice mélange, or generation of small-scale tsunami waves; nor do we know to what degree the seismic signals can be decoded to give specific physical information about the condition of the glacier. Wendy Zhange will describe ongoing efforts to address these questions using tabletop experiments and models of idealized capsizes.

Zhang is a theoretical physicist interested in fluid flows, solid motions, as well as the nonlinear interactions between these two kinds of movements. She has studied how the singular dynamics of liquid drops near pinch-off can be organized toward a universal form by scaling while simultaneously also disorganized by instabilities. Other works explore the aftermath of singular forcings by analyzing how granular streams and liquid drops respond after impact. She received her PhD from Harvard in 2001 and joined the faculty at the University of Chicago after a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at University of Chicago and at University of Texas-Austin. She is currently is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics, the James Franck Institute, and the College at the University of Chicago.

Lectures continue on Wednesday, October 3 at University of Chicago as part of the Computation in Science Lecture Series in the Kersten Physics Teaching Center, room 206 at the corner of 57th Street and Ellis Avenue. 12:30–1:30 p.m. with discussion following.

October 3 speakers include:

Alan Rhodes: Breaking & Barriers: Between the Virtual and the Real

Dan Price: Title TBD

Dr. Sidney Nagel: Topological Transitions and Singularities in Fluids:  The Life and Death of a Drop