A Viking Navigational Aid: Polarized Light


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  • Speaker: Vasudevan Lakshminarayanan (U-M Physics Visiting Scholar)
  • Host Department: Physics
  • Date: 04/12/2014
  • Time: 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

  • Location: 170 & 182 Dennison Building

  • Description:

    The Vikings navigated the north Atlantic and landed in the new world about three hundred years before the invention of the magnetic compass. How could they have done this? The answer lies in the ‘sunstone” referred to in Viking legends. It is possible that the sunstone, a calcite crystal could have acted as a depolarizer and enabled the Vikings to navigate. Professor Lakshminarayanan will discuss polarization of light and birefringent crystals as well as the Haidinger brush phenomenon.

    Detailed Information
    All talks are free and refreshments will be served. Visitor parking for the seminars (Central Campus) is across the street from the Dennison Building in the U-M Church Street structure. There is a $2.00 parking charge implemented by U-M Parking Services.

    Contact Information
    For more information regarding the Saturday Morning Physics series, see the Physics Department website, or call 734.764.4437.

    Saturday Morning Physics lectures listings for Winter 2014.