Quantum Measurement in the Real World

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While quantum measurement remains the central philosophical conundrum of quantum mechanics, it has recently grown into a respectable (read: experimental!) discipline as well.  New perspectives on measurement have grown  out of new technological possibilities, but also out of
attempts to design systems for quantum information processing, which promise to be exponentially more powerful than any possible classical computer.  I will try to give a flavour about some of these perspectives, focussing largely on a particular paradigm known as "weak measurement."
Weak measurement is a natural extension of a pragmatic view of what it means to measure something about a quantum system, yet leads to some rather surprising results.  I will describe a few examples of our recent experiments using weak measurement to probe fundamental issues in  uantum mechanics such as what the minimum disturbance due to a quantum measurement is.  I will also argue that there are regimes in which weak measurement offers a practical advantage for sensitive measurements.