Neils Colloquia on Innovative Science (NCIS)

Friday, February 17, at 3:30 PM in NSC 234. Join us for refreshments in the NSC lobby at 3:10 PM.

"Maximizing Information, Minimizing Correlation: I Come to Bury Entanglement, Not to Praise It"


Dr. Nathan Harshman, Department of Physics, American University


Now that measurements can be reliably performed at the level of single atoms and photons, issues of interpretation of quantum mechanics have moved from metaphysics to physics.  Seeming paradoxes that challenge our notion of local reality, like measurements on entangled quantum systems revealing "ghostly" correlations in causally disconnected regions of space-time, have been convincingly demonstrated.  One interpretation of quantum mechanics, called "It from bit" by John Archibald Wheeler, is that the quantum state, and whatever form of reality it represents, is nothing more than the information that can be extracted from it by measurements.  But since scientists choose the measurements, does that mean we construct reality?  (No.) This talk will explore how measurement, information and correaltion interplay at the classical and quantum level.  These investigation indicate how to maximize information gained by measurements on a quantum system: follow the example set by nature, and choose observables that "bury" the entanglement.