11/01/2006 08:00:00

Watson Lecture: Amazing Bubbles

PASADENA, Calif.--There is more to bubbles than just froth. The same phenomenon that puts foam in your latte can also reduce kidney stones or chew holes in propellers. Understanding how bubbles form and collapse has led to a variety of applications, from faster torpedoes to cleaner teeth.

"Bubbles have some amazing properties that can be both harmful and beneficial," says Christopher E. Brennen, the Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. "In particular, they are used in a startling number of modern medical applications, for example the remote removal of kidney stones by lithotripsy [pulverizing stones with ultrasound]."

On Wednesday, November 8, Brennen will cover the history of these phenomena (including Caltech's special role in their discovery) and will end with a vision of new horizons for the bubble. His talk, "The Amazing World of Bubbles," is the second program of the fall/winter 2006-07 Earnest C. Watson Lecture Series.

The talk will be presented at 8 p.m. in Beckman Auditorium, 332 S. Michigan Avenue, south of Del Mar Boulevard, on the Caltech campus in Pasadena. Seating is available on a free, no-ticket-required, first-come, first-served basis.

Caltech has offered the Watson Lecture Series since 1922, when it was conceived by the late Caltech physicist Earnest Watson as a way to explain science to the local community.

For more information, call (626) 395-4652. Outside the greater Pasadena area, call toll-free, 1(888) 2CALTECH (1-888-222-5832).

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Contact: Kathy Svitil (626) 395-8022 ksvitil@caltech.edu

Visit the Caltech Media Relations website at: http://pr.caltech.edu/media

Written by Kathy Svitil