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

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Fourth 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 fourth 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 IX, Professor Shelby Kimmel, Ph.D.
Quantum Algorithms (QA)

A. computers collapse into black holes if continuous storage exponentially occurs (Lloyd, Nature, 2016)

B. algorithm = a set of instructions on how to behave

C. can create quantum cryptography, but we haven’t, yet

D. thermal rate constant = the rate of chemical reactions (measured by the amount of heat emitted)

E. writing algorithms is like engineering waves’ sizes and location on a beach: even though it’s all visible, it’s very complicated (many variables and factors influence waves’ locations at any given moment)

F. superposition and destructive or constructive interference led to the need to create QA

G. running each QA many times is needed to validate each one

H. functions

ʄ(x) = 2x squared – 3

I. quantum query complexity refers to the number of times needed to use a classical computer to ask about the variables in the functions, above

J. even parity refers to an even # of some certain outputs

K. initializing means starting back at zero, or cooling back down to the lowest temperature of the object/particle

Session X: all present

A. discussed the phenomenon of physicists’ personifying their objects/particles in speaking about their behaviors (see Day 2, Session 2, N)

B. anthropomorphic language leads to phrases like “breaking isolation” for taking a measurement/observing, and “preferences” for natural propensities, using “like”

Session XI, Professor Gretchen Campbell, Ph.D.

A. Isotopes are lighter and have less density and mass than regular elements because they have fewer neutrons

B. Ground state is the ground energy of the element (when it’s supercooled)

C. lighter atoms have larger wavelengths which makes them behave more quantumly (superposition-like)

D. superfluids conduct heat 500 x better than metals (e.g., copper, the best one) and flow without resistance

E. viscosity (thickness) of a liquid goes away when an element is supercooled

F. this supercooling occurs at 2.17K (Kelvin) which is called the transition temperature

G. temperature travels in waves

H. some of the 4 He (Helium isotope) does not become a superfluid and stays ordinary, which creates temperature gradients (differences within the fluid) and waves

I. “any state should be identical if we precisely exchange two particles” (there is no “handedness” of bosons or any two particles)

J. bosons are identical

K. bosons bunch together

L. anti-symmetrical particles (which do have “handedness,” e.g., right, left, top, bottom “spin”) are called fermions (anti-identical)

M. fermions “avoid” and “repel” one another because they “can’t be in the same place at the same time” unless they are supercooled

N. neutrons (when individual, single) are fermions because they are “energy barriers”

O. 4 He is a boson

P. 3 He (another Helium isotope) is a fermion

Q. odd numbers of bosons become fermions while even numbers of fermions become bosons

R. particles that comprise atoms (protons, neutrons, electrons) are all fermions in their behavior (e.g., repelling each other) unless they are supercooled, then they become bosons in their behavior (clustering, e.g.)

S. photons are bosons (they bunch)

T. Bose-Einstein Condensates (BECs) are superfluids and are bosons and have integer spin

U. fermions are odd and have 1/2-integer spins

V. sometimes fermions pair up and behave like bosons (why? when?)

W. superfluids “can’t leave the lab” (can’t stay supercooled “out in the world”), so they are not much “use,” yet

X. “dilution refrigerator” is the mixture of 4 He and 3 He and does the supercooling action

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