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Nov 7 2016 | Quantum Information

Professor Patrick Hayden of the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics (SITP) introduces the science of quantum information.

Over the past sixty years, computers have shrunk, networks have spread and flickering bits of information have ever more thoroughly infiltrated all aspects of our lives. The boundary between the virtual world of information and the physical world we ultimately inhabit has been slowly fading to the point that it is becoming hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. But deep down, we know there is a difference. Information is an invented abstraction: engineered, processed and repackaged but not the basic stuff of reality. Or perhaps not. The fundamental laws of physics, in the form of quantum mechanics, force physicists to wrestle with the very meaning of information. If Schrodinger’s cat can be both alive and dead, then the familiar “bit” isn’t up to the task of describing her state.

With gathering speed, scientists have been developing the science of truly quantum mechanical information. Not only is it strange, it has proven to be useful. Quantum computers could solve problems no digital computer will ever be able tackle. Quantum cryptosystems could only be cracked by violating the laws of physics. In these lectures, we’ll explore the nature of quantum information and how to use it. We’ll end by applying those pragmatic ideas to the nature of spacetime itself, finding that the boundary between the virtual and physical worlds is far fuzzier than we could have imagined.

May 16 2016 | Condensed Matter

Professor Steven Kivelson of the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics (SITP) introduces the physics of supercondictivity and condensded matter physics.

Superconductivity is perhaps the most spectacular macroscopic quantum phenomenon. A “persistent current” in a ring of superconducting wire will continue to flow forever – a laboratory realization of perpetual motion. A voltage across a junction between two superconductors produces an oscillating current with a frequency that is determined exactly by the voltage and the fundamental constant of quantum mechanics, Planck’s constant. Superconductivity is the quintessential example of an “emergent phenomenon” in physics, in which the collective behavior cannot be understood in terms of the properties of any finite collection of microscopic constituents (i.e. electrons). Notable physicists including Einstein, Heisenberg, and Feynman tried and failed for half a century to achieve the basic understanding of superconductivity that was only achieved in the mid 1950’s and early 1960’s. However, many fundamental issues remain to be resolved, including those related to the more recent discovery of unconventional “high temperature superconductivity” in a variety of synthetic metals and the construction of coherent superconducting “Q-bits” which act as laboratory realizations of Schrodinger’s cat.

May 9 2016 | Condensed Matter

Professor Steven Kivelson of the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics (SITP) introduces the physics of supercondictivity and condensded matter physics.

Superconductivity is perhaps the most spectacular macroscopic quantum phenomenon. A “persistent current” in a ring of superconducting wire will continue to flow forever – a laboratory realization of perpetual motion. A voltage across a junction between two superconductors produces an oscillating current with a frequency that is determined exactly by the voltage and the fundamental constant of quantum mechanics, Planck’s constant. Superconductivity is the quintessential example of an “emergent phenomenon” in physics, in which the collective behavior cannot be understood in terms of the properties of any finite collection of microscopic constituents (i.e. electrons). Notable physicists including Einstein, Heisenberg, and Feynman tried and failed for half a century to achieve the basic understanding of superconductivity that was only achieved in the mid 1950’s and early 1960’s. However, many fundamental issues remain to be resolved, including those related to the more recent discovery of unconventional “high temperature superconductivity” in a variety of synthetic metals and the construction of coherent superconducting “Q-bits” which act as laboratory realizations of Schrodinger’s cat.

 

Feb 8 2016 | Cosmology

In the last few decades, we have been able to look at the sky with unprecedented precision and our understanding of the evolution of the universe has changed radically. We have found that the universe is very large and remarkably homogeneous, but at the same time it has structures on all length scales. In order to obtain a universe such as the one we see around us, a quite mysterious period of exponential expansion, called inflation, seems to be required at the beginning of the universe. The universe is also accelerating today, apparently dominated by a cosmological constant. All of this is a challenge for our currently established physical laws. SITP Professor Leonardo Senatore will give an overview of the observations and the physical ideas behind our current investigations of the evolution of the universe.

Feb 1 2016 | Cosmology

In the last few decades, we have been able to look at the sky with unprecedented precision and our understanding of the evolution of the universe has changed radically.  We have found that the universe is very large and remarkably homogeneous, but at the same time it has structures on all length scales.  In order to obtain a universe such as the one we see around us, a quite mysterious period of exponential expansion, called inflation, seems to be required at the beginning of the universe. The universe is also accelerating today, apparently dominated by a cosmological constant.  All of this is a challenge for our currently established physical laws.  SITP Professor Leonardo Senatore will give an overview of the observations and the physical ideas behind our current investigations of the evolution of the universe.

Lecture 2

 

The discovery of the Higgs particle at the Large Hadron Collider in 2012 completes the Standard Model of particle physics, which successfully accounts for almost all phenomena observed in the universe. In part 2 of this lecture series, Professor Savas Dimopoulos of the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics (SITP) will overview this model and some of the deep questions that suggest going beyond it to theories with extra dimensions, supersymmetry, string theory and the multiverse.

Nov 4 2015 | Quantum Information

Sandu Popescu discusses multipartite entanglement with the It From Qubit Simons Collaboration team at the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics.

Professor Leonard Susskind describes how gravity and quantum information theory have come together to create a new way of thinking about physical systems. From fluid dynamics to strange metals, from black holes to the foundations of quantum mechanics, almost all areas of physics are being touched by the new paradigm.

The discovery of the Higgs particle at the Large Hadron Collider  in 2012 completes the Standard Model of particle physics, which successfully accounts for almost all phenomena observed in the universe.  Professor Savas Dimopoulos of the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics (SITP) will overview this model and some of the deep questions that suggest going beyond it to theories with extra dimensions, supersymmetry, string theory and the multiverse.

Brian Swingle of the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics discusses the latest research in Black Hole complexity and computational power at the 2015 SITP Templeton Conference.

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