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Kent paper among best American Scientist articles of past 100 years
A University of Kent article explaining how soap films can be used to solve mathematical problems has been selected for a special commemorative issue of American Scientist.
Published in May 2012, the issue marks the centenary of the publication with a selection of popular articles from the past 100 years.
The article, titled 'The soap film: an analogue computer', was first published in 1976 by Dr Cyril Isenberg, now an honorary lecturer in the University's School of Engineering and Digital Arts.
Described by the journal as a 'classic', Dr Isenberg's article explains how the properties of soap films allow them to be used to solve both two-dimensional and three-dimensional distance and area problems, some of which lacked non-digital mathematical solutions at the time of his article. The article was based on Dr Isenberg's popular lecture-demonstrations during his visit to American universities in the 1970s.
More than three decades later, Dr Isenberg continues to give his soap films talk, around 50 times a year, to audiences ranging from young people to members of learned societies.
Professor Mark Burchell, Dean of Kent's Faculty of Sciences, said: 'I am delighted that Dr Isenberg's article has been recognised by such a prestigious journal. Dr Isenberg has, for many years, given his highly popular talks linking the beauty and art of bubbles, with the equally beautiful science that explains them. At Kent, he has also run for many years a highly popular series of Christmas science lectures for schoolchildren. He thoroughly deserves this latest accolade.'
In 2008, Dr Isenberg was awarded an MBE for his contribution to physics. In 1994, he was awarded the Institute of Physics Bragg Medal and Prize for significant contributions to physics education and innovative contributions to the teaching of physics. He has held numerous positions within the Institute, including Chairman of the London and South East Branch.
Dr Isenberg has also made numerous television appearances and is perhaps best known as the organiser of the British Physics Olympiad. Over 10,000 UK A-level school students participate every year, out of which five are selected to take part in the International Physics Olympiad.
Story published at 12:14pm 31 May 2012