Speaker: Prof. Alain Aspect, Ecole Polytechnique, Paris
Title: "From Einstein intuitions to quantum bits: a new quantum age"
In 1935, with co-authors Podolsky and Rosen, Einstein discovered an amazing quantum situation, where particles in a pair are so strongly correlated that Schrödinger called them “entangled”. By analyzing that situation, Einstein concluded that the quantum formalism had to be completed. Niels Bohr immediately opposed that conclusion, and the debate lasted until the death of these two giants of physics, in the 1950’s.
In 1964, John Bell produced his famous inequalities which would allow experimentalists to settle the debate, and to show that entanglement is indeed a revolutionary concept.
Based on that concept, a new field of research has emerged, quantum information, where one uses entanglement between qubits to develop conceptually new methods for processing and transmitting information. Large scale practical implementation of such concepts might revolutionize our society, as did the laser, the transistor and integrated circuits, most striking applications of the first quantum revolution initiated at the eve of the XXth century.
Speaker: Steven H. Simon, Alcatel-Lucent, Bell Labs
Title: "Topological Phases of Matter and Why You Should be Interested"
In two dimensional topological phases of matter, processes depend on
gross topology rather than detailed geometry. Thin king in 2+1
dimensions, particle world lines can be interpreted as knots or links,
and the amplitude for certain processes becomes a topological invariant
of that link. While sounding rather exotic, we believe that such
phases of matter not only exist, but have actually been observed in
quantum Hall experiments, and could provide a uniquely practical route
to building a quantum computer.
Speaker: Prof. Peter Goldreich, IAS and Princeton University
Title: "Reading the Record of Ancient Impacts"
Abstract:Debris from asteroids and comets continually bombards the Earth. Big impacts launch ejecta on trajectories that carry them thousands of kilometers from the impact site. These are recorded in discrete layers of submillimeter size spherules in sea oor sediments. Larger, aerodynamically shaped, objects are found on land. I will describe the physical processes that occur in energetic impacts with emphasis on the evolution of the reball and determination of the range and size of the ejecta.
Speaker: Prof. Katherine Freese, University of Michigan
Title: "Dark Matter in the Universe"
Only 4% of the Universe is made of ordinary atoms; the rest consists of
The Dark Side: Dark Matter and Dark Energy. This talk will examine the
dark matter that comprises 95% of the mass of the Milky Way and all
other galaxies. I will review the observational evidence for dark
matter including rotation curves of galaxies, weak lensing, and the
cosmic microwave background radiation. A great of excitement
currently pervades this field because of current and upcoming
experiments that can find the dark matter, via both direct and indirect
techniques. The best motivated dark matter candidates are Weakly
Interacting Massive Particles such as those motivated by supersymmetry.
These particles have been powerful motivation for the LHC at CERN, the
underground experiments such as XENON, satellites such as GLAST or
PAMELA, and neutrino detectors such as ICECUBE at the South Pole. I
will also discuss Dark Stars: the first stars to form in the universe
may be powered by dark matter heating rather than by fusion (a new
phase of stellar evolution) and may be detectable as well.
Speaker: Prof. Cristiano Galbiati, Princeton University
Title: "Noble Liquids - The Revolution in Direct Dark Matter Searches"
Noble liquid detectors are changing in a fundamental way the field of direct dark matter searches. They feature excellent discrimination between minimum ionizing events - due to background radioactivity - and nuclear recoils - the signature of WIMP dark matter interactions -. Their unmatched promise of a rapid scaling of the target mass (by 2-3 orders of magnitude!) and of a corresponding increase in sensitivity is driving a large number of researchers into the field: it's the 21st century gold rush of astroparticle physics.Will they provide the first successful exploration of the dark sector?
Speaker: Prof. Zheng-Tian Lu, Argonne National Laboratory
Title: "Simple Atom, Extreme Nucleus: Laser Trapping and Probing of Helium-8"
Helium-8 (8He) is the most neutron-rich matter to have been synthesized
on earth: it consists of two protons and six neutrons, and remains
stable for an average of 0.2 seconds. It is often viewed as a 4He core
with four additional neutrons orbiting at a relatively large distance,
forming a halo. Because of its intriguing properties, 8He has the
potential to reveal new aspects of the fundamental forces among the
constituent nucleons. We have recently succeeded in laser trapping and
cooling this exotic helium isotope, and have performed precision laser
spectroscopy on individual trapped atoms. Based on the atomic frequency
differences measured along the isotope chain 3He – 4He – 6He – 8He, the
nuclear charge radius of 8He has now been determined for the first
time. Comparing this result with the values predicted by a number of
nuclear structure calculations, we test theoretical understanding of
the nuclear forces in the extremely neutron-rich environment.
Speaker: Prof. Alexander Grosberg, New York University
Title: "To Knot or Not to Knot"
The mathematics and physics of knots has a long and fascinating history, starting from a model of an atom suggested by W.Thompson (Lord Kelvin) and enthusiastically supported by Maxwell. Knots in DNA are abundant and important. Recently, we surveyed the protein data bank and found that evolution for some as yet unknown reason strongly preferred unknotted proteins. In theoretical aspect, the field was long dominated by either highly abstract mathematics or computer simulations. Recently, some progress was made in the direction of physical understanding of knots. One fruit of it is the prediction that knots under certain circumstances behave like a material with negative Poisson ratio. In the talk, all these various aspects will be reviewed in some mixture.
Speaker: Prof. Tony Heinz, Columbia University
Title: "Carbon Nanotubes and Graphene: Electrons in Model One and Two Dimensional Materials"
The hexagonally bonded form of carbon, well known as the basis of the bulk crystal of graphite, can now be isolated in the form of a single atomic layer. This atomic monolayer, known as graphene, exhibits many distinctive physical properties, including remarkable mechanical strength, very electron mobility, and room-temperature quantum effects. The same graphene structure is also found in carbon nanotubes, which are seamless
cylindrical structures of graphene of nanometer diameter. The carbon
nanotubes are thus one-dimensional analogs of graphene. In this talk, we will discuss some of the unusual properties of these novel nanoscale material systems. We will place particular emphasis on the nature of the electronic states of these nearly ideal one- and two-dimensional structures and on how their properties can be elucidated by optical spectroscopy.
Speaker: Prof. Joseph Formaggio, MIT
Title: "When going underground, remember the sunscreen"
The properties of neutrinos have been eluding scientists for over four decades. Making use of massive experiments buried deep underneath the Earth's surface, experimentalists have shed light on the nature of this elusive particle by providing overwhelming evidence that neutrinos from the sun undergo oscillations the quantum mechanical process by which a neutrino of one type spontaneously changes into another due to its mass. The talk will review the journey taken by physicists to learn about neutrinos and provide an outlook on how future experimental endeavors hope to reveal even more about neutrinos and neutrino mass.
Speaker: Prof. Chris Sachrajda, University of Southampton
Title: "Flavour Physics, Lattices and the LHC"
Precise studies of processes in which the flavour quantum number of the
quarks changes are enabling us to explore the limits of the Standard
Model of Particle Physics and will be central to unravelling the
fundamental framework underpinning the signatures of new physics
discovered at the LHC.
An important ingredient of this endeavour is the quantitative control of the effects of the strong nuclear force which requires large scale numerical simulations of (Lattice) Quantum Chromodynamics on powerful supercomputers.
I will review the history and prospects for flavour physics, including a description of the contribution of Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa who share the 2008 Nobel prize for physics with Yoichiro Nambu.
Speaker: Prof. Tsung-Dao Lee, Columbia University
Title: "From CKM and Neutrino Mapping Matrices to the Theory of Timeon"
The achievement of Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa is reviewed, with emphasis on the CKM and the neutrinos mapping matrices as the cornerstone of today’s particle physics. A new strong time-reversal symmetry violating theory is proposed which may lead to an understanding of these two matrices.