• Academy Events

  • Did Einstein Kill Schrödinger's Cat? A Quantum State of Mind

    Wednesday, June 29, 2016 | 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    The New York Academy of Sciences

    Presented by The New York Academy of Sciences

      • Registration Closed

    An archived recording of this event is available via Livestream under "Archived Events" at:

    Schrödinger's cat, a thought experiment proposed eighty years ago to illustrate the mind-boggling effect of quantum superposition—the unseen cat in the box that is neither dead nor alive, but in a so-called superposition of both states at once—has become a common creature in physics labs around the world. Researchers are creating ever larger and more complex Schrödinger's cats using systems of photons, clouds of ultra-cold atoms, and superconducting devices, and have even learned to herd multiple quantum cats. Recent research also suggests that quantum information and entanglement of quantum states—a concept coined by Schrödinger at the time when his famous feline came into being—may be key to understanding quantum gravity, one of the greatest unsolved problems of modern physics. Physicists are now wrestling with another paradox thought experiment that describes the fate of quantum states at the event horizon of a black hole and may upend some of the time-tested fundamental theories. This panel will discuss the fascinating interplay between two great theories of the 20th century—quantum theory and general relativity—and how these phenomena may be exploited, from black holes to quantum computing.

    * Reception to follow.


    Scott Aaronson, PhD

    Author of Quantum Computing Since Democritus; Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Daniel Harlow, PhD

    Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University Center for the Fundamental Laws of Nature

    Brian Swingle, PhD

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics


    George Musser, PhD

    Contributing Editor at Scientific American; author of Spooky Action at a Distance and The Complete Idiot's Guide to String Theory

    Registration — Individual Lecture Prices

    Member $5
    Member (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow) $5
    Nonmember $15
    Nonmember (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow) $7

    Presented by

    The New York Academy of Sciences

    Grant Support

    This program is made possible by the generous support of:

    John Templeton Foundation

    The event is part of the Physics of Everything series.

    This six-part series will unite some of the most vibrant public intellectuals and communicators of today—from scientists to philosophers, and ethicists to educators—for explorations that reflect on the current state of modern physical sciences.

    To learn more about each lecture and to purchase tickets, click on the links below.

    Contact Us

    Jennifer Costley, PhD

    Director, Physical Sciences, Sustainability & Engineering