Non-Euclidean Virtual Reality

A Frontiers in Science Lecture by Elisabetta Matsumoto

The 2016 confirmation of Einstein's prediction of gravitational waves put the spotlight back on the importance of curvature for the physics of the universe.

The ability of mass to curve space has fueled the imagination of many, but this is by far not the only instance of warped spaces being important for physics: The materials science of the very small scale -- the science of nanostructures and nanoengineering -- is one of them.

Often these small spaces are very strongly curved, far from what mathematicians call "Euclidean." For example, two parallel lines may no longer only meet at infinity. These bizarre and exotic spaces have very unusual properties.

Until recently, many of these complex spaces defied most people's imagination, but Virtual Reality technology is helping us immerse in them.

Elisabetta Matsumoto will take us on a tour -- enabled by the latest in virtual-reality technology -- into the innate beauty and mystery of some spaces, such as the cross between a Euclidean straight line and Poincare's hyperbolic plane, which was made popular by Escher's artwork.

Real-world applications or technological uses of these mathematical insights may seem to be light-years off, but don't worry, the real world will catch up with the imagination faster than we think.

Lecture begins at 6:30 PM. Stay after the talk for a virtual-reality demo at 7:30 PM!

About The Speaker
Elisabetta Matsumoto has been on a stellar career trajectory through some of the world’s finest physics departments, including Princeton and Harvard University, but she is not your typical physics geek.

Her love of space and geometry has let her understand the complex structures of liquid crystals in unprecedented ways and predict the spontaneous formation of structures that spontaneously nano-engineer themselves from simple molecules. It has also led her to explore some of nature’s most intricate geometries for 3D printed jewelry and symmetry principles for knitted designs and fashion.

Matsumoto holds a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Pennsylvania. She is building her soft matter research group at Georgia Tech.

She has won several awards, including the Glenn Brown Prize by the International Society for Liquid Crystals. 

About The Frontiers in Science Lecture Series
Lectures in this series are intended to inform, engage, and inspire students, faculty, staff, and the public on developments, breakthroughs, and topics of general interest in the sciences and mathematics. Lecturers tailor their talks for nonexpert audiences.

Event Details


  • Monday, 2018, October 15 - 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Atlanta, GA

Free admission; virtual-reality demo after the talk

For More Information Contact

Stephanie Niebuhr