An introduction to quantum theory (short course)

7.00pm to 8.30pm weekly, Monday 21 October

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place


£190 Ri Members / Patrons

This covers all six sessions.

Event description

When mentioned in passing, quantum theory can seem mystifying, with talk of uncertainty, being in two places at once and teleportation. However, it is a theory that arose from a need to explain important physical phenomena, such as the structure and behaviour of atoms, and is now used in nearly every area of physics. 

Quantum theory is essential to understand the interaction of light with matter, semiconductors, superconductors, all of chemistry, lasers and more. Quantum physics also points towards exciting technological developments, many realized in the lab, such as quantum computing, teleportation, simulation and cryptography.

This course aims to demystify this most enigmatic area of physics, and to convey the consistency, accuracy and usefulness of quantum theory. There will be discussions on what has been achieved in the field and resulting technological innovations.

. The following topics will be covered:

  • The historical development of quantum theory
  • The structure, language and philosophy of the theory
  • The application of quantum theory to fundamental areas of physics
  • The use of quantum physics in solids, and exotic systems such as cold atomic gases and superconductors
  • Quantum information theory, teleportation and entanglement, and the idea of quantum simulation
  • Extending quantum physics from the microscopic world to the macroscopic world around us.

Participants will need only a passing knowledge of mathematics to A-Level standard.

The course will run for six, 90-minute sessions, every Monday on:

  • Mon 21 Oct
  • Mon 28 Oct
  • Mon 4 Nov
  • Mon 11 Nov
  • Mon 18 Nov
  • Mon 25 Nov 

The course costs £225 (£190 Ri Members and Patrons) for six sessions, including all course materials and refreshments. The course is for interest only, with no qualification, examination, or certificate of attendance at its conclusion. It is recommended for adults and young people aged 16 and over.

About the speakers

James Millen is a Lecturer in Advanced Photonics at King’s College London.

From 2015 – 2018 he was a Marie Curie Research Fellow in the Quantum Nanophysics Group at the University of Vienna, working on the manipulation and cooling of nanoscale objects, with the goal of controlling them on the quantum level.

In 2017 he was awarded the Institute of Physics’ Bates’ Prize, for his contributions to optomechanics.

He is an editor at the Journal of Physics Communications, an Institute of Physics journal dedicated to the rapid dissemination of research based on quality, not impact. This journal will also accept negative or null results, or the results of replication studies.

Google Scholar

Please note

This course will cover the same material of previous quantum physics short courses from September 2014-17.

Become a member

Benefit from free and better than half-price tickets, special offers and access to the CHRISTMAS LECTURES ticket ballot.

Join todayGo