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

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

The New York Academy of Sciences

 

An archived recording of this event is available via Livestream under "Archived Events" at: 
https://livestream.com/newyorkacademyofsciences

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.

Featuring

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

Moderator

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

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Contact Us

Jennifer Costley, PhD

Director, Physical Sciences, Sustainability & Engineering
212.298.8675
jcostley@nyas.org

Featuring

Scott Aaronson, PhD

Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Scott Aaronson is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. Beginning this fall, he'll be David J. Bruton Centennial Professor of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin. He studied at Cornell and UC Berkeley, and did postdocs at the Institute for Advanced Study as well as the University of Waterloo. His research focuses on the capabilities and limits of quantum computers, and more generally on computational complexity and its relationship to physics. His first book, Quantum Computing Since Democritus, was published in 2013 by Cambridge University Press.

Aaronson has written about quantum computing for Scientific American and The New York Times, and writes a popular blog. He's received the National Science Foundation's Alan T. Waterman Award, the United States PECASE Award, and MIT's Junior Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Daniel Harlow, PhD

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

Daniel Harlow is a theoretical physicist specializing in black holes, cosmology, and quantum gravity. He is one of the leaders of a new field that applies ideas from the theory of quantum computation to black hole physics, and is perhaps best known for his work for his work reformulating a key relationship of quantum gravity (the AdS/CFT correspondence) as a quantum error correcting code, demonstrating a novel link between quantum gravity and information theory.

Dr. Harlow has a PhD in physics from Stanford University, and prior to coming to Harvard was a postdoctoral fellow in the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science. Starting in 2017 he will be an assistant professor in the Center for Theoretical Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Brian Swingle, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics

Brian received his BS in Physics from Georgia Tech in 2005 and his PhD in Theoretical Physics from MIT in 2011. He was a Simons Fellow at Harvard from 2011 to 2014 and then joined the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics in the fall of 2014. In the summer of 2015 he became an It From Qubit Fellow as part of the new "It From Qubit" Simons Collaboration. His interests span a variety of topics at the intersection of many-body physics, quantum information, and quantum gravity. He introduced the use of tensor networks in quantum gravity and is one of the originators of the idea that quantum entanglement holds spacetime together.

Moderator

George Musser, PhD

Contributing Editor at Scientific American

George Musser is a contributing editor at Scientific American magazine, a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT for 2014–2015, and the author of Spooky Action at a Distance (2015) and The Complete Idiot's Guide to String Theory (2008). Although he focuses on space science and fundamental physics, his writings range widely over the sciences. He has won numerous awards for his work, including the 2011 Science Writing Award from the American Institute of Physics and 2010 Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award from the American Astronomical Society. As a Scientific American senior editor for 14 years, he was co-awarded the National Magazine Award in 2003 and 2011.

Sponsors

Presented by

  • The New York Academy of Sciences

Grant Support

  • Templeton Foundation

This project was made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in this event are those of the speaker(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation.

Promotional Partner

Annals of Physics

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