INTD 364.30: In Search of (Quantum) Reality ... or ... What Really Happened to Schrodinger's Cat?

Instructor: Mark Taylor

Office: Gerstacker 118
Phone: 569-5241
email:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Office Hours:

MTRF 9:00-12:00, Wed. 9:00-6:00, Sun. 3:00-6:00 ... or ... just stop by.

Also, feel free to call me or send me email.

Meeting Times:

MTRF 2:00-5:00, Gerstacker 123

Texts:

  1. "Quantum Reality" by Nick Herbert  (1985)
  2. "Appearance and Reality" by Peter Kosso (1998)
  3. "Where Does the Weirdness Go?" by David Lindley (1996)

Other short reading selections will be distributed throughout the course.

Course Overview:

Quantum mechanics is a physical theory used to describe the structure of the microscopic world.  This theory is perhaps the most successful, and certainly the most quantitatively accurate description of nature ever constructed.  While no one disputes the success of quantum mechanics (no experiment has yet been performed which is found to be in violation of this theory) there has been an ongoing debate as to the meaning or interpretation of the theory since its initial formulation. In particular, quantum mechanics demands that we abandon some of our preconceived ideas about the very nature (or even existence) of "reality".  This led Einstein to reject the theory as incomplete.  However, recent experiments have convincingly demonstrated that Einstein was wrong and thus we are forced to contend with a number of different "quantum realities" all of which are consistent with our knowledge of the microscopic world.  In this course we will examine just what it is that quantum mechanics has to say about the nature of reality.  In the process we will also try to understand how the microscopic world can be so weird while the macroscopic world continues to be so seemingly normal.  Finally, we'll see what we can do about saving a poor feline from that terrible entangled fate of the simultaneous |live catñ + |dead catñ state.

Final Exam: 10:00 AM Wednesday, May 11

PreClass Questions:

Class 01 Class 05 Class 09
Class 02 Class 06 Class 10
Class 03 Class 07 Class 11
Class 04 Class 08 Class 12

Problem Sets

Chapter 2:

2.2 - Projections on a vertical axis

2.4 - Projections on a non-vertical axis

Chapter 4:

4.4 - The state of an atom

4.5 - Three analyzers

4.10 - Three analyzers with different angles

Chapter 5:

5.7 - Speeding tickets (short answer)

5.8 - The rock-climbing question (short answer)

5.9 - Lotto odds

Chapter 6:

6.3 - Test of Bell: a quantum result

6.4 - Test of Bell: a classical result (I'm not sure 5.6 is helpful)

Links to pdf files:

Course Information & Syllabus Quantum History

Papers

Paper #1 Paper #2 Paper #3
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