Dr. William P. Reinhardt of the University of Washington (Phi Beta Kappa lecturer) will speak to the Physics Club on the following topic on Monday, March 17, 2003 at 4:00 p.m. in Science 304:
"Schrodinger's Cat is Alive
Quantum Mechanics in the Large."
Within the past several years "large" physical objects have been experimentally prepared in such a manner that they clearly demonstrate the "weird" quantum properties that one usually only thinks of as being associated with electrons and photons (light quanta.) This talk begins by reminding students who have had freshman chemistry, or some quantum physics, how quantum wave properties lie at the base of our understanding the chemical bond and the periodic table. It then quickly but easily gets into real objects which might behave as Schrodinger's famous cat, that is being in a superposition of states.
He will give a public lecture on Monday, March 17, 2003 at 7:30 p.m. in Science 102:
"Chaos, the Birth of a New Science."
This is a general pictorial and (mostly) non-mathematical introduction to an ongoing scientific revolution. Of interest to anyone who has wondered why the weather is not necessarily predictable, or why snowflakes and fingerprints are thought to be in a "no two alike" category; and why "cloned" plants and animals are, perhaps surprisingly, not necessarily at all exactly like their genetic donor.
He will also give a talk on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 at 2:30 p.m. in Science 304:
"Physical and Mathematical Images in Literature and Vice-versa: Jorge Luis Borges meets Stephen Hawking."
Scientific and mathematical images appear in "serious" literature, as in, for example, in the works of Borges and Thomas Mann. Scientists writing for a general audience have a great challenge in presenting quantitative mathematical ideas in verbal (non mathematical and even non-pictorial) form, Hawking's discussions of space and time being likely the best known, or at least the best sold. In this genuinely "liberal arts" talk, intended for students & scholars of all disciplines, some illustrations, focusing on "what does it mean to be large or small," are given from both literary and numerical points of view. The talk includes an illustrated tour of real (our own) and imagined universes (that of Borges).