What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Third Installment

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Third Installment
JULY 28, 2016 to JULY 30, 2016


I have over thirty pages of notes and comments. Not going to put them all in one post, so here is the third installment. Look for others starting August 8, 2016: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

For any terms or concepts I don’t define or which I define poorly, please refer to: http://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/glossary.html

I don’t have any more than what I’m posting, here. Physicists: please add, comment, correct, elaborate, explain! Thanks!

NOTE: the superscripted and subscripted numbers and letters won’t copy/paste correctly here; sorry.

Session VI, Professor Ian B. Spielman, Ph.D.

A. gauge field

B. Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) is an extreme (cold/ultra cold) quantum matter

C. because of size of /mass of/temperature of objects, we can’t see uncertainty/superpositions

D. ion trap

E. harmonic trap potential energy

F. superconducting circuit
meander lines
degrees of freedom

G. probability amplitude and distribution are the measurements of wavefunction (psi, ψ)

H. Phase and amplitude
affect velocity and position

I. Solid, liquid, gas, plasma = phases of matter
plasma = partially ionized gas
the BEC is another phase of matter

J. “frustrate the particles’ ability to get close together” means to prevent the liquid and solid states from occurring, always maintaining substances as gases (keep their density low)

K. 10-12 is one picometer = pm

L. three-, four- or five-body collisions cause/allow atoms to form closeness and become liquids and solids (again)

M. ultra-quantum atoms lose their individual identity and can’t be distinguished individually any longer

N. events on temperature scale go from room temperature to 102 = 300ₒ Kelvin (K = Kelvin)

FORMULA: BEC = 1 nanoK (nK)

O. extreme heat is the same as extreme cold, behaviorally (atomically) and lead to indistinguishability among atoms (see letter M, above)

P. neutronium is a superfluid and is under the surface of neutron stars

Q. each BEC can only be kept intact for about 1 minute, then it falls apart

R. entanglement is not a property of a quantum wavefunction unless we know where and when the substance/particle is

S. rubidium has 37 electrons and 37 protons, is deepest red (the name means that) due to laser cooling it becomes a BEC in its isotope form, which represents the # of neutrons
85Rb and 87Rb are most used

T. xamon (sp?) zamon (sp?) : slower neutrons gets them supercooled and creates the BEC form

U. shadow imaging measures the cooling and velocity

V. Stern-Gerlach effect is used every day

W. evaporative cooling is the supercooling method most used (accomplished via lasers)

Session VII Professor Peter S. Shawhan, Ph.D.

Joint Space-Science Institute and UMD Physics Department, works with LIGO–Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory– (Livingston, LA, and Baton Rouge, LA, and Richland, WA [ Hanford] are the centers) detecting gravitational waves 7 total sites planned worldwide for future

A. multi-messenger astronomy works with 10-21 -size objects

B. GR = General theory of Relativity in formulae and references

C. spacetime is curved by mass or energy which creates gravity

D. wave solutions travel at the speed of light (c) but variations in the spacetime metric show us the effective distance between points in space

E. tesseract (Madeline L’Engle’s word, Wrinkle in Time scifi series, 1960s) probably came from the incipient understanding of the stretching and shrinking, alternately, that occurs in spacetime

F. wormholes didn’t get to hear about these!

G. gravitational waves travel through a Dune (Frank Hebert’s scifi creation) sandworm-like, connected rings, undulating

H. neutron stars and black holes orbit tightly near each other in pairs, often

I. dimensionless strain
a single number may suffice to describe the strain, and therefore the strain rate: a long and uniform rubberband is gradually stretched by pulling at the ends so we can see that the strain can be defined as the ratio between the amount of stretching and the original length of the band


that “h” is NOT Planck’s constant

J. binary pulsars can be 2 neutron stars or 1 neutron star and one black hole or 2 black holes in close orbit to each other and Earth. The orbit “decays” over time and then the stars get closer and closer to each other, creating a black hole when they collapse into each other

K. gravitational waves carry away energy and angular momentum

L. “decay” of the orbit is “inspiral

M. when 2 orbiting neutron stars get too close to each other a black hole is formed in about 300 million years

N. constructive interference which generates bright output
destructive interference which generates dark output

O. high frequency vibrations make it so that suspended objects don’t shake

P. interferometers are at LIGO centers

Q. quantum noise comes from photons in laser beams at LIGO centers

R. DOF = Degrees Of Freedom

S. squeezed light happens in a vacuum because a vacuum has fluctuating EMFs (ElectroMagnetic Fields)

T. squeezed light has 2 quadratures: length and intensity; both can be measured

U. positrons and electrons are anti-particles but positrons only exist “momentarily”

V. metallicity of a star is the # of elements above Helium in the periodic table that are metals in its composition

W. “spacetime is very stiff”

X. Gravitational waves (GW) that were recently detected arrived from 1.3 billion years ago!

Y. nonzero spin

Z. black holes emit gravitational waves as they stabilize or if something “falls” into one

A’. heavier-than-iron elements come from supernovas and binary black holes (neutron star mergers)

B’. slowing down a GW could allow travel between waves (!!)

C’. cosmic inflation allows objects to exceed lightspeed

D’. event horizon is the inside of a black hole from which nothing “escapes” that we know of (yet)

E’. effects of GW on human-like bodies are unknown at this time. We adjust to resonant frequencies lower than our own as long as they are ≤ 3/10% (.003). More than that could shatter humans’ bones.

Session VIII, Professor Chris Monroe, Ph.D.
Quantum Communication

A. Moore’s Law from the 1940s information theory says that the density of computer chips grows exponentially when bits are 0s and 1s

B. now there are about 10 billion transistors, which is almost the peak of what can be stored

C. transistors are getting smaller, but they are capped at about the year 2020 for what can be shrunk

D. “granularity of matter” “you can’t shrink things indefinitely without running into atoms.”

E. build circuits out of atoms to get “smaller” spaces for storing information, which creates “quantum computers”

F. “quantum information science” is of the 21st century

G. NAND gates use Boolean logic and have to do with input and output, what is flipped and what is not (Not + And = NAND) so that A or B or both are “negated” between input and output

H. Quantum Mechanics (QM) rules: there are two
1. Quantum objects are waves AND can be in superposition
qubit = quantum bit
} = in a quantum state (symbol)

FORMULA: │ψ} = a│0} + b│1}

2. to keep rule #1, “Don't look!” meaning, don't “observe” or “measure” anything

I. each orbit is a bit, and one electron has 2 orbits, 0 and 1

J. Hamiltonion = H = energy function

K. the observer “breaks isolation” vs. not introducing molecules at all into the experience of a particle or an object in a quantum state

L .multiverse theory allows both QM rules to co-exist

M. “observing” = interacting with the environment (changing the object’s experience)

N. in physicists’ talk:
mathematical or natural preferences = “like”
“knows” = “makes a decision”
“sees” = “knows”
“personality” = “expressing a preference”
“we didn’t care about or don’t know” sweeps anything “under the rug” when physicists use probabilities to deal with anything

O. quantum parallel processing allows for exponential storage options

P. measurement gives random and useless results, sometimes

Q. waves of existence can create “beats” via simple interferences

R. everything vanishes except 1 or 2 answers = quantum algorithms

S. if we tap other universe to store information, then we won’t run out of space in ours for quantum data (qubits) because qubits accumulate data at exponential rates (do we lease, rent or buy space? Steal it?)

T. 10,000 times something occurs in laboratory experiments = “knowing” to a 1% (99%) probability

U. 1/2-way flip a qubit application = the square root of a NOT gate

V. quantum 1st flips, 2nd flips = XOR gate the first is dependent on the second

W. superposition happens from the XOR gate and goes into entanglement

X. teleportation is quantum communication using entanglement

FORMULA: │0}+│0}+│1}+│1}
red blue red blue

Y. Fred Alan Wolf, Taking the Quantum Leap

Z. teleportation destroys the original and creates a replica in a new location

A’. a human has 10 to the 27th atoms

See below for more information about The Schrödinger Sessions.

Who was in charge?
Chad Orzel, Union College
Emily Edwards, JQI
Steve Rolston, JQI

Organizing Institutions
Joint Quantum Institute (JQI)
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Sponsoring Institutions
This workshop was made possible by a Public Outreach and Informing the Public grant from the American Physical Society (APS) and support from the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Joint Quantum Institute
2136 Physical Sciences Complex
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

How did I get to go?
I applied in March and was accepted in April!

The Schrödinger Sessions II was the second of two (first was 2015) three-day (2.5 days, really) sets of seminars, Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, offering a “crash course” in modern physics for non-scientists who utilize physics and other sciences in our work and wish to do it better. It was held at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), one of the world’s leading research centers for the study of quantum mechanics. [The organizers kept their promises to] introduce participants to phenomena like superposition, entanglement, and quantum information through a series of lectures by JQI and NIST scientists and tours of JQI laboratories. [They most certainly DID] inform and inspire new stories [and sharing information, like this] in print, on screen, and in electronic media, that will in turn inspire a broad audience to learn more about the weird and fascinating science of quantum physics and the transformative technologies it enables.

The workshop was held at JQI from Thursday, July 28 through Saturday, July 30, 2016. Participants were housed locally at a university dorm with breakfast offered at a dining commons near the dorm and lunch provided at the workshop, which was at the Physical Sciences building. Evenings were free to allow participants to explore the Washington, D.C. area (but I was much too tired at each day’s end to do any exploring).

Participants were selected on the basis of an application asking about personal background, interest, and publication history. [Organizers worked] work to ensure the greatest possible diversity of race and gender as well as type of media (print, television, etc.) with an eye toward reaching the broadest audience. Applications were accepted online from March 1 through March 20, 2015, and acceptance decisions were made around April 15, 2015.

FYI: Next year, 2017, JQI plans to offer a similar seminar for a different professoinal group, Physics for Journalists, and then, pending funding, re-offer this same session as I attended, Physics for Sci-Fi Writers, in the summer of 2018.

Watch this space for more of my notes, reactions and ideas catalyzed by these great seminars, after 8/8/16! http://www.sallyember.com/blog