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 a heavy emphasis 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 five, 90 minute sessions, every evening from Monday 7 to Friday 11 November.
The course costs £190 (£160 Ri Members) for five sessions, including all course materials and refreshments. The course is for interest only, with no qualification, examination, or certificate of attendence at its conclusion.
About the speakers
James Millen is a physicist and Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Vienna. He has worked in physics labs at Imperial College London, Durham University and University College London. His current research deals with controlling nanoparticles in vacuum environments.For 2016 James will be joined by Sania Jevtic, a Junior Research Fellow at Imperial College London. Sania is a quantum theorist, with particular research interests including quantum information science, quantum thermodynamics and quantum biology.
This course will cover much of the same material as previous short courses presented by Dr James Millen