Physics Department Colloquium, "Quantum Reality: Counterintuitive Lessons About Nature," by Cai Waegell, Postdoctoral Fellow with the Institute for Quantum Studies at Chapman University and WPI Alumni

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
4:00 pm


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Quantum physics has revealed that the behavior of nature is much stranger than our classical intuition about the world suggests.  This talk attempts to make several of these strange effects accessible to a broad audience, and walks through several simple examples of experiments that demonstrate them.  The lessons of this talk are focused on how not to think about the workings of nature, but many mysteries remain as we try to understand how we actually should think about them.  This is the best we can do as honest scientists, since the key to developing a correct understanding of nature lies in studying the experimental data, and never assuming or presupposing anything the data does not tell us.  The art of science lies in facing the vast mystery and beauty of the unknown, and finding a way to carve a path forward using only the tiny fraction that we do know.  Unfortunately, it has become fashionable to use the mysteries of quantum physics as a justification for various supernatural beliefs, which are not rooted in experimental data at all – and this is exactly the sort of thing that impedes real scientific progress.  In this talk, I hope to convey a clear understanding of what is known and unknown about some of the strangest aspects of nature.

Refreshments will be served in Olin Hall 118 at 3:30 p.m.

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