This series covers all areas of research at Perimeter Institute, as well as those outside of PI's scope.
Canadian glass artist and Renaissance man, John Paul Robinson, explores the mythic potential of science. Explaining that, “This is the idea that scientific discovery is changing our mythology by changing our understanding of the world and our place in it.” Backed with a firm understanding of the science he references, his sculptures poetically interpret such theoretical phenomena as wave particles, string mathematics and black holes.
Progress in physics and quantum information science motivates much recent study of the behavior of strongly-interacting many-body quantum systems fully isolated from their environment, and thus undergoing unitary time evolution. What does it mean for such a system to go to thermal equilibrium? I will explain the Eigenstate Thermalization Hypothesis (ETH), which posits that each individual exact eigenstate of the system's Hamiltonian is at thermal equilibrium, and which appears to be true for most (but not all) quantum many-body systems.
I will describe a proposal of an enlargement of the Standard Model based on a softly broken conformal symmetry. It contains the usual particles of the SM with right-chiral neutrinos and predicts two new particles: a scalar mixing with the usual Higgs and a naturally weakly coupled axion. I will argue that the Planck scale should be treated as a real physical scale and discuss the hierarchy problem and renormalization from this point of view.
John Bell has shown that the correlations entailed by quantum mechanics cannot be reproduced by a classical process involving non-communicating parties. But can they be simulated with the help of bounded communication? This problem has been studied for more than twenty years and it is now well understood in the case of bipartite entanglement. However, the issue was still widely open for multipartite entanglement, even for the simplest case, which is the tripartite Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger (GHZ) state.
Quantum computers have the potential to solve certain problems dramatically faster than classical computers. One of the main quantum algorithmic tools is the notion of quantum walk, a quantum mechanical analog of random walk. I will describe quantum algorithms based on this idea, including an optimal algorithm for evaluating Boolean formulas and one of the best known algorithms for simulating quantum dynamics. I will also show how quantum walk can be viewed as a universal model of quantum computation.
Quantum theory is successfully tested in any experimental lab every day. Apart from its experimental validity, quantum theory also constitutes a robust theoretical framework: small variations of its formalism often lead to highly implausible consequences, such as violation of the no-signalling principle or a significant increase of the computational power. In fact, it has been argued that quantum theory may represent an island in theory space. We show that, at the level of correlations, quantum theory may not be as special as initially thought.
The live performance of a drawing contains information, expression and meaning that a finished drawing does not. Part performance, part demonstration, Isabella Stefanescu’s talk will explore the artistic challenges in creating performance pieces with the Euphonopen, an assemblage of hardware and software designed to map the characteristic mark making gestures of an artist to sound.
I will review a recently proposed formalism that describes fluids and superfluids in effective field theory terms. I will then focus on applying this formalism to peculiar string-like objects that exist in fluid systems: vortex lines and vortex rings. These do not obey Newton's second law, and, as a consequence, their behavior is highly counterintuitive. I will describe how effective field theory provides us with an optimal tool to understand how they move and how they interact with one another and with sound.
When we think of a revolution in physics, we usually think of a physical theory that manages to overthrow its predecessor. There is another kind of revolution, however, that typically happens more slowly but that is often the key to achieving the first sort: it is the discovery of a novel perspective on an existing physical theory. The use of least-action principles, symmetry principles, and thermodynamic principles are good historical examples.
One of the central challenges in theoretical physics is to develop non-perturbative methods to describe quantitatively the dynamics of strongly coupled quantum fields. Much progress in this direction has been made for theories with a higher degree of symmetry, such as conformal symmetry or supersymmetry. In recent years the method of localisation has allowed to obtain a great deal of exact results for supersymmetric gauge theories in various dimensions which has led to the discovery of new surprising correspondences such as the celebrated Alday-Gaiotto-Tachikawa correspondence.