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  • Does God Play Dice? From the Bohr-Einstein Debate to Experimental Tests of Hidden Variables

Does God Play Dice? From the Bohr-Einstein Debate to Experimental Tests of Hidden Variables

  • 08 Mar 2024
  • 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Joseph Henry Room, Jadwin hall, Princeton NJ

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Dinner Meeting:  Does God Play Dice?

From the Bohr-Einstein Debate to Experimental Tests of Hidden Variables

Guest Speaker:  Professor Steve Schnetzer, Rutgers University (see more info below)

5:00pm Sign in, Wine and Cheese

6:00pm Dinner

7:00-9:00 Speaker

Parking: Parking will be available in lots 25 and 5. 

Map: https://pr.princeton.edu/campusmap/PUCampusMap.pdf

Cost: $20/member or guest

Is random chance a fundamental aspect of nature? This has been hotly debated ever since the birth of quantum mechanics. In 1927, Bohr and Einstein had a famous argument in which Bohr argued that, yes, that is the way the world is and that we just need to get over it, while Einstein argued that this just can't be the way that the world is. Their debate was resolved about fifty years later through a series of experimental tests of quantum mechanics carried out by John Clauser, Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2022.


Is random chance a fundamental aspect of nature? This has been hotly debated ever since the birth of quantum mechanics. In 1927, Bohr and Einstein had a famous argument in which Bohr argued that, yes, that is the way the world is and that we just need to get over it, while Einstein argued that this just can't be the way that the world is. Their debate was resolved about fifty years later through a series of experimental tests of quantum mechanics carried out by John Clauser, Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2022.


Is random chance a fundamental aspect of nature? This has been hotly debated ever since the birth of quantum mechanics. In 1927, Bohr and Einstein had a famous argument in which Bohr argued that, yes, that is the way the world is and that we just need to get over it, while Einstein argued that this just can't be the way that the world is. Their debate was resolved about fifty years later through a series of experimental tests of quantum mechanics carried out by John Clauser, Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2022.

Using the simplest quantum system, a qubit, we'll discuss how probability is fundamental to quantum mechanics and why this was so disturbing to Einstein and others. We'll then talk about hidden variable theories that were proposed as alternatives to fundamental quantum mechanics in which there is a classical theory that is hidden from us that underlies quantum mechanics. We'll then explain the experiments of Clauser, Aspect and Zeilinger and discuss how they showed that there is no classical hidden theory, but rather that quantum mechanics is the basic, rock bottom, theory.

Along the way, we'll talk about entanglement, Bell's Theorem and, if there is time, play a silly game called the CHSH game. You'll also hear about some rather crazy people called the Fundamental Fysiks Group who played a peripheral but very important role in this. For all of this, we'll need only enough mathematics that can be easily digested in an after dinner and post wine talk.

About Professor Schnetzer

Steve Schnetzer is a professor in the Rutgers Physics & Astronomy Department. He received a bachelor’s degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1974 and a doctoral degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1981. He joined the Rutgers faculty in 1984. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. In 1983, he proposed and co-founded a high energy physics experiment at the KEK laboratory in Japan.

Later he led the development of radiation-hardened electronics for use in one of the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. In recent years he has led a search for evidence of a new type of quark that might be produced in collisions at the LHC. Three of his former undergraduate students, Rikab Gambhir (2019), Noah Paladino (2020) and Eesh Gupta (2022) were awarded Goldwater Scholarships, the most prestigious award given to science, engineering and math undergraduates in the US. He has taught courses at all levels: introductory, advanced undergraduate and graduate.

In 2015, he established one of the first undergraduate courses in the country on an introduction to quantum computing. For three years, he served as the Director of the Undergraduate Program in the Rutgers Physics & Astronomy Department. He initiated and for over fifteen years has helped to run a highly acclaimed two-week summer program on particle physics and cosmology for high school students. 


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