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2021 Nobel Prize in Physics Lecture

  • Saturday, December 18, 2021
  • 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Uncertainty and frustration: prediction in a complex worldTwo people standing on either side of a multicolored physics graphic depicting complex systems

Learn about the science that won this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics in a special presentation brought to you by the Department of Physics at NCSU and NCMNS, in-person at the SECU Daily Planet Theater and on YouTube Live. Join us inside the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Daily Planet Theater or watch the broadcast on YouTube Live.

The 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for “groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of complex physical systems.” What are complex physical systems and why are they important? We will talk about and demonstrate some key features of complex systems, including why they can be so hard to predict: small changes can have big consequences. What are the patterns in the data that allow us to make sense of the chaos? Starting from everyday examples like pendulums and magnets, we will show how these ideas allow us to tackle the Earth’s mightiest challenges such as climate change and pandemics.

Join us on YouTube!

Our Guests

Karen Daniels is a Distinguished Professor of Physics at NC State University. Her lab at NC State investigates a number of problems in the deformation and failure of materials, from fluid flows to piles of sand, to fracturing gels. When not working with her students on experiments in the lab, she likes to spend time in the outdoors, which has led her to contemplate the implications of her research for geological and ecological systems.

Elliott G. Holliday is a native of Durham, NC and a 2014 alumnus of The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. He then attended North Carolina State University, graduating in 2018 with a Bachelor’s of Science in physics and a minor in mathematics, and in 2021 with a Master’s of Science in physics. Elliott now continues his education at NC State, working towards his PhD in physics studying artificial intelligence, quantum mechanics and chaos theory. 

Join us on YouTube!


December 18, 2021
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


SECU Daily Planet Theater

Nature Research Center
121 West Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601 United States


Chris Smith