JUNE Public Lecture
IN PRAISE OF WEAKNESS
Aephraim Steinberg, University of Toronto
Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 7:00 pm
Waterloo Collegiate Institute - 300 Hazel St. Waterloo
While quantum mechanics is an immensely powerful and precise theory which seems to describe everything in the world, its insistence on only predicting what happens when we make "measurements" has left scientists and philosophers alike puzzled – as David Mermin summarized one of Einstein's concerns, "Is the moon there when nobody looks?" Dr. Steinberg will talk about some of the new ideas revolutionizing our view of quantum measurement, in particular the surprising advantages of measuring things "weakly," and suggest that new hints may be emerging about how we should think about Einstein's moon.
AEPHRAIM STEINBERG is a Professor of Physics at the University of Toronto, where he is a founding member of the Centre for Quantum Information and Quantum Control. His group carries out research using the experimental tools of quantum optics and laser-cooled atoms to address fundamental problems in quantum mechanics such as "what is the best way to measure a quantum system?", "can quantum information be compressed?", and "when a particle 'tunnels' across a 'classically forbidden' region of space, how much time does it spend there?" Steinberg obtained his B.Sc. at Yale, and spent a year working with future Nobel laureate Serge Haroche in Paris before moving to Berkeley to do his Ph.D. with Ray Chiao, where he carried out a measurement of the seemingly faster-than-light "single-photon tunneling time." He then learned the ropes of laser cooling in Elisabeth Giacobino's group at the University of Paris and in the lab of another future Nobelist, Bill Phillips, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Maryland, before taking up his position at Toronto in 1996. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and an Affiliate Member of the Perimeter Institute. His 2011 experiment measuring "average trajectories" for photons in a two-slit interferometer was selected by Physics World magazine as the "breakthrough of the year."
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