An introduction to quantum theory (short course 2022)

James Millen returns to present a six-part introduction to the world of quantum theory.

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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, from 7pm - 8.30pm every Monday on:

  • Mon 17 October
  • Mon 24 October 
  • Mon 31 October
  • Mon 7 November
  • Mon 14 November
  • Mon 21 November

The course costs £400 (£340 for 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.

James Millen on Google Scholar

Please note (quantum physics short course)

Please note

This course will cover the same material as previous quantum physics short courses run at the Ri from September 2018-19.