In a nutshell, quantum mechanics is a complicated set of mathematics used to predict the behavior of microscopic particles, and the mathematics of the theory is well understood. It provides the foundation for the best-confirmed theories of matter, describing how the microscopic world affects the macroscopic one. While it is the most successful theory we have, there are several issues, the most controversial being that there is little agreement as to how to interpret it. What is this microscopic world like, according to quantum mechanics? In this class, Dr. Jonathan Bain will discuss the development of quantum theory from both the mathematical and conceptual perspectives, as well as two proposals for interpretation. He will also focus on issues surrounding quantum information theory and applications such as quantum teleportation, quantum computing and quantum cryptography.
Quantum mechanics is the best-confirmed theory of particle dynamics today. Not only is it the basis for all digital technologies, it also serves as the theoretical foundation for our best-confirmed theories of matter (quantum field theories). On the other hand, since its inception, it has been beset with conceptual problems. In particular, there is no current consensus on just how to interpret it: What would the world be like, if it were true? In this course, students will examine the foundations of quantum mechanics theory from a conceptual and mathematical perspective and then review two proposals as to how it should be interpreted: the Ghirardi, Rimini and Weber (GRW) Interpretation and the Many Worlds Interpretation. A central part of the course will be devoted to conceptual issues surrounding quantum information theory and current applications such as quantum teleportation, quantum computing and quantum cryptography.
This course is geared toward students with college-level background in mathematics and minimal background in physics or philosophy; however the topics covered will be of interest to students in the physical and information-theoretic sciences as well as philosophy students.
Jonathan Bain, PhD
Associate Professor of Philosophy of Science
NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering
Objective: To gain an understanding of the type of experimental results that motivated the development of quantum mechanics. To be discussed:
Objective: To examine the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics and how it differs from classical mechanics. To be discussed:
Objective: To learn the difference between a classical bit and a quantum bit ('qubit'), and an understanding of how quantum mechanics can be applied to cryptography. To be discussed:
Objective: To describe two procedures that allow quantum mechanical systems to densely encode and "teleport" information and the difference between a classical computation and a quantum computation. To be discussed:
Objective: To gain understanding of two popular proposals for interpreting what quantum mechanics is telling us about the world. To be discussed:
August 4 - 8, 2014
Live Q&A Sessions:
Mon - Fri, 12:00 - 12:30 PM, EST
Wed, July 30, 5:00 pm EST
Intermediate: students should have exposure to college math at the level of linear algebra
0.5 CEUs from IEEE
Deadline: Nov 20 2014
Reward: $100,000 USD
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