A major shift in scientific understanding of the physical world came a century ago with the discovery of the quantum, the principle that particles are discrete packets of energy with wave-like properties. Ground-breaking work by Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrodinger, and others made the quantum central to the quest for a fundamental understanding of nature.
On Wednesday (April 19), the Arizona Senior Academy will complete its encore presentations of the University of Arizona College of Science’s downtown lecture series, “Rethinking Reality,” with a video recording of physicist Pierre Meystre’s March 6 talk, “Domesticating the Quantum.”
The quantum’s discovery, according to Meystre, resulted in a technological “Quantum Revolution” with a profound impact on our lives. “This goes from the utterly devastating – with the invention of weapons capable of destroying civilization in the blink of an eye, to the most empowering – from medical imaging to the GPS, from the transistor to the laser, and from the internet to the smart phone.”
Following a brief review of these developments the lecture will focus on a more counter-intuitive aspect of quantum reality, what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance.” Meystre will discuss how worldwide efforts at domesticating this elusive quantum attribute may lead to a “Second Quantum Revolution” with much promise for quantum communications, quantum metrology and quantum computing.
Meystre is a UA Regents Professor Emeritus of Physics and Regents Professor Emeritus of Optical Sciences. He is currently based in New York as the editor in chief of the American Physical Society. He received his education in Switzerland and Germany and is the author of several texts on optical physics and quantum optics.
Written by Marcia Neugebauer, Academy Village Volunteer