UofT Physics: The H.L. Welsh Distinguished Lecturer Series Program 2018

H.L. Welsh Distinguished Lecturer Series
Thursday, May 3, 2018 -
1:30pm to 5:00pm

The Department of Physics invites faculty, students and the public to its 44th annual celebration of physics.

The Welsh Lectures in Physics have been held annually since 1975 in honour of H.L. Welsh, a distinguished former faculty member in the Physics Department. They are the major public event in the life of the Department of Physics and are intended to celebrate discoveries in physics and their wider impact. They are intended to be broadly accessible to an audience drawn from across the university, other academic institutions and the interested public.

1:30pm - Prof. Seamus Davis (Cornell University)
Visualizing Quantum Matter

Everything around us, everything each of us has ever experienced, and virtually everything underpinning our technological society and economy is governed by quantum mechanics. Yet this most fundamental physical theory of nature often feels as if it is a set of somewhat eerie and counterintuitive ideas of no direct relevance to our lives. Why is this? One reason is that we cannot perceive the strangeness (and astonishing beauty) of the quantum mechanical phenomena all around us by using our own senses. But with the recent emergence of a Second Quantum Revolution, visualization of quantum matter is becoming ever more necessary for its science and technology to advance.

Prof. Davis will describe the recent development of techniques that allow us to image electronic quantum matter directly at the atomic scale. We will visually explore the previously unseen and very beautiful forms of quantum matter making up Composite Quantum Particles in heavy-fermion compounds, Electronic Liquid Crystals in correlated metals, topological surface states of the Quantum Anomalous Hall Effect, and macroscopic quantum state of a Cooper-Pair Condensate. He will discuss the implications of the capability to visualize quantum matter, for fundamental physics research and also for advanced materials and new technologies.

3:00pm - Coffee Break

3:30pm - Prof. Ana Maria Rey (University of Colorado)
Quantum clocks: the greatest rulers of time

The best clock in the world has no hands, no pendulum, no face or digital display. It is made of ultra-cold Strontium atoms trapped in crystals of light. The clock is so precise that, had it begun ticking when Earth formed billions of years ago, it would not yet have gained or lost a second. These ultraprecise atomic clocks not only can serve as the state-of-the-art timekeepers, but also they could help us unveil the mysteries of the quantum world, which is ruled by the bizarre concept of entanglement or “spooky action at a distance”. In fact, the new generation of atomic clocks are paving the ground for the construction of quantum computers with computational powers beyond that of any imaginable classical machine. A quantum computer should be able solve otherwise intractable problems, with far-reaching applications to cryptology, material design and fundamental physical sciences. Can we make the clock even better? Regardless of their impressive precision and accuracy, current atomic clocks still operate with independent atoms which are fundamentally fuzzy. Interestingly, this fuzziness could be reduced if we entangle them. So atomic clocks are a win-win business, not only the current generation of clocks will help us to better understand the quantum world, but the gained understanding will in turn allow us to build the most incredible quantum rulers of time in the future.

Who can attend: Everyone
Fee: Free
Reservations: Not required
Organized by: University of Toronto Department of Physics
Location: Earth Sciences Centre (5 Bancroft Avenue and 33 Willcocks Street, Room ES1050, University of Toronto)