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  • richardmitnick 9:52 pm on October 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Quantum Mechanics, , , , "The Search for Quantum Gravity"   

    From The University of California-Santa Barbara (US) : “The Search for Quantum Gravity” 

    UC Santa Barbara Name bloc

    From The University of California-Santa Barbara (US)

    October 11, 2021

    Sonia Fernandez

    With support from The Heising-Simons Foundation (US), theoretical physicists take a new approach to the search for quantum gravity.

    Quantum Gravity Illustration

    About a century ago, Albert Einstein amazed the world with his groundbreaking theory of relativity, and ever since he shared this profound understanding of gravity and spacetime, physicists everywhere have worked hard to prove, refine and extend it. In the intervening decades, numerous observations have borne Einstein out, with phenomena such as gravitational lensing and redshift, shifts in planetary orbit and, more recently, gravitational waves and observations of black holes.

    However, for all the advances we’ve made in witnessing the more readily observable, macro effects of gravity, there remains a gap — a chasm, really — in our ability to understand gravity in the context of another profound discovery: quantum mechanics, the physics of matter and energy at their smallest scales.

    “There is the longstanding problem, perhaps the greatest remaining from 20th century physics, of reconciling quantum mechanics with gravity,” said UC Santa Barbara theoretical physicist Steven Giddings. The universe is quantum, and unlike the other fundamental forces — the electromagnetic, the weak and the strong nuclear forces — which have been described within quantum field theory, what we know of gravitation remains solidly in the realm of classical physics.

    “Associated with that problem is a gulf between theory and observation,” said Giddings, who specializes in high energy and gravitational theory, as well as quantum black holes, quantum cosmology and other quantum aspects of gravity. Traditional thinking leads one to believe that quantum aspects of gravity are only observable if we explore incredibly short distances, he said, such as the Planck length (10-35 meter), thought to be the smallest length in the universe and the length at which quantum gravity effects become important. It’s also far beyond observational reach.

    But what if it was possible to detect quantum gravity at longer, observable length scales? Giddings, and fellow theorists Kathryn Zurek and Yanbei Chen at The California Institute of Technology (US), Cynthia Keeler and Maulik Parikh at The Arizona State University (US), and Ben Freivogel and Erik Verlinde at The University of Amsterdam [Universiteit van Amsterdam](NL), think that could be the case.

    “Various theoretical developments have indicated that quantum gravity effects may become important at much greater distances in certain contexts, and that is truly exciting and worth exploring,” Giddings said. “We are taking this seriously.”

    And, thanks to support from the Heising-Simons Foundation, the team is poised to bridge that chasm, by exploring ways in which quantum gravity may be observed, via effects a longer length scales.

    “We are thrilled that the Heising-Simons Foundation has chosen to support this vision of exploring new effects, particularly at long distances, in quantum gravity, and the possibility that they lead to observational effects,” Giddings said of the $3.1 million in multi-institution grants to help the team push the boundaries of our knowledge of quantum gravity. “Their support should really move this research forward.”

    Quantum Effects at Longer Lengths

    Reconciling relativity to quantum mechanics has challenged physicists for the better part of a century, with puzzles such as the black hole information paradox. That’s where relativity and quantum mechanics violently conflict on the issue of what happens to information that falls into a black hole, those extremely high-gravity voids in spacetime. A relativistic picture indicates that the information gets destroyed as the black hole slowly evaporates, while quantum mechanics states that that information cannot be destroyed.

    A suggested approach to that conundrum and other similarly complex issues emerges with the proposed holographic principle, a fundamentally new idea about the possible behavior of quantum gravity.

    “There are different ways to explain it, but one is that the amount of information you can put in a volume is not proportional to the volume but to the surface area surrounding the volume,” Giddings explained. A consistent theory incorporating this principle might explain how information is not destroyed, resulting in a relativistic object, such as a black hole, obeying quantum rules.

    “When one tries to reconcile the existence of black holes with the principles of quantum mechanics, one seems to be led to the conclusion that new quantum gravity effects must become important not just at short distances, but at distances comparable to the size of the black hole in question — for the largest black holes we know, many times the size of our solar system,” Giddings said.

    The principle, which started out originally with black holes, has been suggested to extend to the universe in general — what we perceive as our three-dimensional reality may even, in a sense, have an underlying two-dimensional description. This could make its mathematical description more elegant and compelling.

    “This is a big departure from the properties of quantum field theories that describe other forces of nature — like electromagnetism and the strong force — and is a feature of gravity that strongly suggests that a theory of gravity has a very different underlying structure,” he added. This fundamentally different structure might be part of a description with novel properties, in which information is preserved.

    A related argument for the observability of quantum gravity at greater distances comes from the notion that very high energy collisions, though far beyond what we have been able to accomplish, start producing quantum gravitational effects at increasingly large distances.

    “When one considers extremely high energy collisions of particles, one is not probing shorter distances any longer — as has been true at accessible energies — but instead one starts to see effects at longer distances, due to basic properties of gravity,” Giddings said.

    Quantum Gravity at Work

    Recent developments in experimental observations have made it possible to detect and measure new effects of gravity, such as with Caltech’s Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO), the Virgo interferometer in Italy, and the Kamioka Gravitational Wave Detector (KAGRA) in Japan.


    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA.

    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation.

    VIRGO Gravitational Wave interferometer, near Pisa, Italy

    KAGRA Large-scale Cryogenic Gravitational Wave Telescope Project (JP)
    Each of those facilities is turned to space to sense gravitational waves coming from major events, such as the mergers of massive celestial bodies like black holes and neutron stars. These, as well as observations of light from near black holes by The Event Horizon Telescope-EHT, may also be sensitive to long-range quantum effects. In addition, ideas related to holography suggest the possibility of new quantum effects in lab-based settings, and newer experiments with interferometers may provide novel ways to test them.

    The task for the researchers as they resolve foundational issues and understand aspects of the fundamental description of quantum gravity, is to develop “effective descriptions” that can connect theory with observations coming in from the interferometers and other instruments.

    “In physics, we have often been in the situation where we don’t have the complete theory, but we have an approximate description that captures certain important properties of that theory,” Giddings explained. “Often, such ‘effective descriptions’ can be surprisingly powerful, and lead to deeper insight about the more fundamental theory.”

    The group’s diverse mix of backgrounds is a strength of this collaboration, with specializations ranging from quantum gravity to particle physics, string theory to gravitational wave physics. Through a series of meetings to be held over four years the collaboration will progress from foundational issues, such as sharpening the description of holography and understanding the mathematical structure of gravity, to studying models that may describe behavior of quantum gravity, its interactions and potentially observable effects, to developing specific observational tests with the interferometers and observations of black holes.

    Along the way, the collaboration will grow, starting with the seven core members and adding postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, and finally broadening activities to include additional physicists to discuss collaboration results and related theoretical advances from the broader community.

    “If we are able to observe quantum effects of black holes, that will be truly revolutionary,” Giddings said. “It would also likely help guide the conceptual revolution of reconciling quantum mechanics with gravity, which we expect to likely be as profound as the revolutionary discovery of quantum mechanics.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Santa Barbara Seal

    The University of California-Santa Barbara (US) is a public land-grant research university in Santa Barbara, California, and one of the ten campuses of the University of California (US) system. Tracing its roots back to 1891 as an independent teachers’ college, The University of California-Santa Barbara joined the University of California system in 1944, and is the third-oldest undergraduate campus in the system.

    The university is a comprehensive doctoral university and is organized into five colleges and schools offering 87 undergraduate degrees and 55 graduate degrees. It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation (US), The University of California-Santa Barbara spent $235 million on research and development in fiscal year 2018, ranking it 100th in the nation. In his 2001 book The Public Ivies: America’s Flagship Public Universities, author Howard Greene labeled The University of California-Santa Barbara a “Public Ivy”.

    The University of California-Santa Barbara is a research university with 10 national research centers, including the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (US) and the Center for Control, Dynamical-Systems and Computation. Current University of California-Santa Barbara faculty includes six Nobel Prize laureates; one Fields Medalist; 39 members of the National Academy of Sciences (US); 27 members of the National Academy of Engineering (US); and 34 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (US). The University of California-Santa Barbara was the No. 3 host on the ARPANET and was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1995. The faculty also includes two Academy and Emmy Award winners and recipients of a Millennium Technology Prize; an IEEE Medal of Honor; a National Medal of Technology and Innovation; and a Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.
    The University of California-Santa Barbara Gauchos compete in the Big West Conference of the NCAA Division I. The Gauchos have won NCAA national championships in men’s soccer and men’s water polo.


    The University of California-Santa Barbara traces its origins back to the Anna Blake School, which was founded in 1891, and offered training in home economics and industrial arts. The Anna Blake School was taken over by the state in 1909 and became the Santa Barbara State Normal School which then became the Santa Barbara State College in 1921.

    In 1944, intense lobbying by an interest group in the City of Santa Barbara led by Thomas Storke and Pearl Chase persuaded the State Legislature, Gov. Earl Warren, and the Regents of the University of California to move the State College over to the more research-oriented University of California system. The State College system sued to stop the takeover but the governor did not support the suit. A state constitutional amendment was passed in 1946 to stop subsequent conversions of State Colleges to University of California campuses.

    From 1944 to 1958, the school was known as Santa Barbara College of the University of California, before taking on its current name. When the vacated Marine Corps training station in Goleta was purchased for the rapidly growing college Santa Barbara City College moved into the vacated State College buildings.

    Originally the regents envisioned a small several thousand–student liberal arts college a so-called “Williams College (US) of the West”, at Santa Barbara. Chronologically, The University of California-Santa Barbara is the third general-education campus of the University of California, after The University of California-Berkeley (US) and The University of California-Los Angeles (US) (the only other state campus to have been acquired by the UC system). The original campus the regents acquired in Santa Barbara was located on only 100 acres (40 ha) of largely unusable land on a seaside mesa. The availability of a 400-acre (160 ha) portion of the land used as Marine Corps Air Station Santa Barbara until 1946 on another seaside mesa in Goleta, which the regents could acquire for free from the federal government, led to that site becoming the Santa Barbara campus in 1949.

    Originally only 3000–3500 students were anticipated but the post-WWII baby boom led to the designation of general campus in 1958 along with a name change from “Santa Barbara College” to “University of California-Santa Barbara,” and the discontinuation of the industrial arts program for which the state college was famous. A chancellor- Samuel B. Gould- was appointed in 1959.

    In 1959 The University of California-Santa Barbara professor Douwe Stuurman hosted the English writer Aldous Huxley as the university’s first visiting professor. Huxley delivered a lectures series called The Human Situation.

    In the late ’60s and early ’70s The University of California-Santa Barbara became nationally known as a hotbed of anti–Vietnam War activity. A bombing at the school’s faculty club in 1969 killed the caretaker Dover Sharp. In the spring of 1970 multiple occasions of arson occurred including a burning of the Bank of America branch building in the student community of Isla Vista during which time one male student Kevin Moran was shot and killed by police. The University of California-Santa Barbara ‘s anti-Vietnam activity impelled then-Gov. Ronald Reagan to impose a curfew and order the National Guard to enforce it. Armed guardsmen were a common sight on campus and in Isla Vista during this time.

    In 1995 The University of California-Santa Barbara was elected to the Association of American Universities– an organization of leading research universities with a membership consisting of 59 universities in the United States (both public and private) and two universities in Canada.

    On May 23, 2014 a killing spree occurred in Isla Vista, California, a community in close proximity to the campus. All six people killed during the rampage were students at The University of California-Santa Barbara. The murderer was a former Santa Barbara City College student who lived in Isla Vista.

    Research activity

    According to the National Science Foundation (US), The University of California-Santa Barbara spent $236.5 million on research and development in fiscal 2013, ranking it 87th in the nation.

    From 2005 to 2009 UCSB was ranked fourth in terms of relative citation impact in the U.S. (behind Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), California Institute of Technology(US), and Princeton University (US)) according to Thomson Reuters.

    The University of California-Santa Barbara hosts 12 National Research Centers, including the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, the Southern California Earthquake Center, the UCSB Center for Spatial Studies, an affiliate of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, and the California Nanosystems Institute. Eight of these centers are supported by The National Science Foundation (US). UCSB is also home to Microsoft Station Q, a research group working on topological quantum computing where American mathematician and Fields Medalist Michael Freedman is the director.

    Research impact rankings

    The Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked The University of California-Santa Barbara 48th worldwide for 2016–17, while the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) in 2016 ranked https://www.nsf.gov/ 42nd in the world; 28th in the nation; and in 2015 tied for 17th worldwide in engineering.

    In the United States National Research Council rankings of graduate programs, 10 University of California-Santa Barbara departments were ranked in the top ten in the country: Materials; Chemical Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Physics; Marine Science Institute; Geography; History; and Theater and Dance. Among U.S. university Materials Science and Engineering programs, The University of California-Santa Barbara was ranked first in each measure of a study by the National Research Council of the NAS.

    The Centre for Science and Technologies Studies at

  • richardmitnick 10:49 am on October 10, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Ruling Electrons and Vibrations in a Crystal with Polarized Light", , Atomic vibrations-and therefore phonons-can be generated in a solid by shining light on it., , , , Quantum Mechanics, To the naked eye solids may appear perfectly still but in reality their constituent atoms and molecules are anything but.,   

    From Tokyo Institute of Technology [東京工業大学](JP): “Ruling Electrons and Vibrations in a Crystal with Polarized Light” 


    From Tokyo Institute of Technology [東京工業大学](JP)

    October 8, 2021

    Associate Professor Kazutaka G. Nakamura
    Institute of Innovative Research,
    Tokyo Institute of Technology
    Tel +81-45-924-5387

    Public Relations Division
    Tokyo Institute of Technology
    Tel +81-3-5734-2975

    The quantum behavior of atomic vibrations excited in a crystal using light pulses has much to do with the polarization of the pulses, say materials scientists from Tokyo Tech. The findings from their latest study offer a new control parameter for the manipulation of coherently excited vibrations in solid materials at the quantum level.


    To the naked eye solids may appear perfectly still but in reality their constituent atoms and molecules are anything but. They rotate and vibrate, respectively defining the so-called “rotational” and “vibrational” energy states of the system. As these atoms and molecules obey the rules of quantum physics, their rotation and vibration are, in fact, discretized, with a discrete “quantum” imagined as the smallest unit of such motion. For instance, the quantum of atomic vibration is a particle called “phonon.”

    Atomic vibrations-and therefore phonons-can be generated in a solid by shining light on it. A common way to do this is by using “ultrashort” light pulses (pulses that are tens to hundreds of femtoseconds long) to excite and manipulate phonons, a technique known as “coherent control.” While the phonons are usually controlled by changing the relative phase between consecutive optical pulses, studies have revealed that light polarization can also influence the behavior of these “optical phonons.”

    Dr. Kazutaka Nakamura’s team at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) explored the coherent control of longitudinal optical (LO) phonons (i.e., phonons corresponding to longitudinal vibrations excited by light) on the surface of a GaAs (gallium arsenide) single crystal and observed a “quantum interference” for both electrons and phonons for parallel polarization while only phonon interference for mutually perpendicular polarization. “We developed a quantum mechanical model with classical light fields for the coherent control of the LO phonon amplitude and applied this to GaAs and diamond crystals. However, we did not study the effects of polarization correlation between the light pulses in sufficient detail,” says Dr. Nakamura, Associate Professor at Tokyo Tech.

    Accordingly, his team focused on this aspect in a new study published in Physical Review B. They modeled the generation of LO phonons in GaAs with two relative phase-locked pulses using a simplified band model and “Raman scattering,” the phenomenon underlying the phonon generation, and calculated the phonon amplitudes for different polarization conditions.

    Their model predicted both electron and phonon interference for parallel-polarized pulses as expected, with no dependence on crystal orientation or the intensity ratio for allowed and forbidden Raman scattering. For perpendicularly polarized pulses, the model only predicted phonon interference at an angle of 45° from the [100] crystal direction. However, when one of the pulses was directed along [100], electron interference was excited by allowed Raman scattering.

    With such insights, the team looks forward to a better coherent control of optical phonons in crystals. “Our study demonstrates that polarization plays quite an important role in the excitation and detection of coherent phonons and would be especially relevant for materials with asymmetric interaction modes, such as bismuth, which has more than two optical phonon modes and electronic states. Our findings are thus extendable to other materials,” comments Nakamura.

    Indeed, light has its ways of getting both materials and material scientists excited!

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    Tokyo Institute of Technology [東京工業大学](JP) is the top national university for science and technology in Japan with a history spanning more than 130 years. Of the approximately 10,000 students at the Ookayama, Suzukakedai, and Tamachi Campuses, half are in their bachelor’s degree program while the other half are in master’s and doctoral degree programs. International students number 1,200. There are 1,200 faculty and 600 administrative and technical staff members.

    In the 21st century, the role of science and technology universities has become increasingly important. Tokyo Tech continues to develop global leaders in the fields of science and technology, and contributes to the betterment of society through its research, focusing on solutions to global issues. The Institute’s long-term goal is to become the world’s leading science and technology university.

  • richardmitnick 10:55 am on September 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Quantum Mechanics, , , "1st 'atom tornado' created from swirling vortex of helium atoms", Physicists have created the first-ever atomic vortex beam — a swirling tornado of atoms and molecules with mysterious properties that have yet to be understood., Orbital angular momentum, If their rotating beam does indeed act differently it could become an ideal candidate for a new type of microscope that can peer into undiscovered details on the subatomic level.   

    From University of California-Berkeley (US) via Live Science (US): “1st ‘atom tornado’ created from swirling vortex of helium atoms” 

    From University of California-Berkeley (US)


    Live Science (US)

    Ben Turner

    The beams could be used to peak at unseen subatomic details.

    An artist’s depiction of a swirling vortex beam. (Image credit: Weiquan Lin via Getty Images)

    Physicists have created the first-ever atomic vortex beam — a swirling tornado of atoms and molecules with mysterious properties that have yet to be understood.

    By sending a straight beam of helium atoms through a grating with teeny slits, scientists were able to use the weird rules of quantum mechanics to transform the beam into a whirling vortex.

    The extra gusto provided by the beam’s rotation, called orbital angular momentum, gives it a new direction to move in, enabling it to act in ways that researchers have yet to predict. For instance, they believe the atoms’ rotation could add extra dimensions of magnetism to the beam, alongside other unpredictable effects, due to the electrons and the nuclei inside the spiraling vortex atoms spinning at different speeds.

    “One possibility is that this could also change the magnetic moment of the atom,” or the intrinsic magnetism of a particle that makes it act like a tiny bar magnet, study co-author Yair Segev, a physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, told Live Science.

    In the simplified, classical picture of the atom, negatively-charged electrons orbit a positively-charged atomic nucleus. In this view, Segev said that as the atoms spin as a whole, the electrons inside the vortex would rotate at a faster speed than the nuclei, “creating different opposing [electrical] currents” as they twist. This could, according to the famous law of magnetic induction outlined by Michael Faraday, produce all kinds of new magnetic effects, such as magnetic moments that point through the center of the beam and out of the atoms themselves, alongside more effects that they cannot predict.

    The researchers created the beam by sending helium atoms through a grid of tiny slits each just 600 nanometers across. In the realm of quantum mechanics — the set of rules which govern the world of the very small — atoms can behave both like particles and tiny waves; as such, the beam of wave-like helium atoms diffracted through the grid, bending so much that they emerged as a vortex that corkscrewed its way through space.

    The whirling atoms then arrived at a detector, which showed multiple beams — diffracted to differing extents to have varying angular momentums — as tiny little doughnut-like rings imprinted across it. The scientists also spotted even smaller, brighter doughnut rings wedged inside the central three swirls. These are the telltale signs of helium excimers — a molecule formed when one energetically excited helium atom sticks to another helium atom. (Normally, helium is a noble gas and doesn’t bind with anything.)

    The orbital angular momentum given to atoms inside the spiraling beam also changes the quantum mechanical “selection rules” that determine how the swirling atoms will interact with other particles, Segev said. Next, the researchers will smash their helium beams into photons, electrons and atoms of elements besides helium to see how they might behave.

    If their rotating beam does indeed act differently it could become an ideal candidate for a new type of microscope that can peer into undiscovered details on the subatomic level. The beam could, according to Segev, give us more information on some surfaces by changing the image that is imprinted upon the beam atoms bounced off it.

    “I think that as is often the case in science, it’s not a leap of capability that leads to something new, but rather a change in perspective,” Segev said.

    The researchers published their findings Sept. 3 in the journal Science.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of California-Berkeley US) is a public land-grant research university in Berkeley, California. Established in 1868 as the state’s first land-grant university, it was the first campus of the University of California (US) system and a founding member of the Association of American Universities (US). Its 14 colleges and schools offer over 350 degree programs and enroll some 31,000 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students. Berkeley is ranked among the world’s top universities by major educational publications.

    Berkeley hosts many leading research institutes, including the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute and the Space Sciences Laboratory. It founded and maintains close relationships with three national laboratories at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory(US), DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory(US) and DOE’s Los Alamos National Lab(US), and has played a prominent role in many scientific advances, from the Manhattan Project and the discovery of 16 chemical elements to breakthroughs in computer science and genomics. Berkeley is also known for student activism and the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s.

    Berkeley alumni and faculty count among their ranks 110 Nobel laureates (34 alumni), 25 Turing Award winners (11 alumni), 14 Fields Medalists, 28 Wolf Prize winners, 103 MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipients, 30 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 19 Academy Award winners. The university has produced seven heads of state or government; five chief justices, including Chief Justice of the United States Earl Warren; 21 cabinet-level officials; 11 governors; and 25 living billionaires. It is also a leading producer of Fulbright Scholars, MacArthur Fellows, and Marshall Scholars. Berkeley alumni, widely recognized for their entrepreneurship, have founded many notable companies.

    Berkeley’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA, primarily in the Pac-12 Conference, and are collectively known as the California Golden Bears. The university’s teams have won 107 national championships, and its students and alumni have won 207 Olympic medals.

    Made possible by President Lincoln’s signing of the Morrill Act in 1862, the University of California was founded in 1868 as the state’s first land-grant university by inheriting certain assets and objectives of the private College of California and the public Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College. Although this process is often incorrectly mistaken for a merger, the Organic Act created a “completely new institution” and did not actually merge the two precursor entities into the new university. The Organic Act states that the “University shall have for its design, to provide instruction and thorough and complete education in all departments of science, literature and art, industrial and professional pursuits, and general education, and also special courses of instruction in preparation for the professions”.

    Ten faculty members and 40 students made up the fledgling university when it opened in Oakland in 1869. Frederick H. Billings, a trustee of the College of California, suggested that a new campus site north of Oakland be named in honor of Anglo-Irish philosopher George Berkeley. The university began admitting women the following year. In 1870, Henry Durant, founder of the College of California, became its first president. With the completion of North and South Halls in 1873, the university relocated to its Berkeley location with 167 male and 22 female students.

    Beginning in 1891, Phoebe Apperson Hearst made several large gifts to Berkeley, funding a number of programs and new buildings and sponsoring, in 1898, an international competition in Antwerp, Belgium, where French architect Émile Bénard submitted the winning design for a campus master plan.

    20th century

    In 1905, the University Farm was established near Sacramento, ultimately becoming the University of California-Davis. In 1919, Los Angeles State Normal School became the southern branch of the University, which ultimately became the University of California-Los Angeles. By 1920s, the number of campus buildings had grown substantially and included twenty structures designed by architect John Galen Howard.

    In 1917, one of the nation’s first ROTC programs was established at Berkeley and its School of Military Aeronautics began training pilots, including Gen. Jimmy Doolittle. Berkeley ROTC alumni include former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and Army Chief of Staff Frederick C. Weyand as well as 16 other generals. In 1926, future fleet admiral Chester W. Nimitz established the first Naval ROTC unit at Berkeley.

    In the 1930s, Ernest Lawrence helped establish the Radiation Laboratory (now DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (US)) and invented the cyclotron, which won him the Nobel physics prize in 1939. Using the cyclotron, Berkeley professors and Berkeley Lab researchers went on to discover 16 chemical elements—more than any other university in the world. In particular, during World War II and following Glenn Seaborg’s then-secret discovery of plutonium, Ernest Orlando Lawrence’s Radiation Laboratory began to contract with the U.S. Army to develop the atomic bomb. Physics professor J. Robert Oppenheimer was named scientific head of the Manhattan Project in 1942. Along with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley founded and was then a partner in managing two other labs, Los Alamos National Laboratory (1943) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (1952).

    By 1942, the American Council on Education ranked Berkeley second only to Harvard University (US) in the number of distinguished departments.

    In 1952, the University of California reorganized itself into a system of semi-autonomous campuses, with each campus given its own chancellor, and Clark Kerr became Berkeley’s first Chancellor, while Sproul remained in place as the President of the University of California.

    Berkeley gained a worldwide reputation for political activism in the 1960s. In 1964, the Free Speech Movement organized student resistance to the university’s restrictions on political activities on campus—most conspicuously, student activities related to the Civil Rights Movement. The arrest in Sproul Plaza of Jack Weinberg, a recent Berkeley alumnus and chair of Campus CORE, in October 1964, prompted a series of student-led acts of formal remonstrance and civil disobedience that ultimately gave rise to the Free Speech Movement, which movement would prevail and serve as precedent for student opposition to America’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

    In 1982, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) was established on campus with support from the National Science Foundation and at the request of three Berkeley mathematicians — Shiing-Shen Chern, Calvin Moore and Isadore M. Singer. The institute is now widely regarded as a leading center for collaborative mathematical research, drawing thousands of visiting researchers from around the world each year.

    21st century

    In the current century, Berkeley has become less politically active and more focused on entrepreneurship and fundraising, especially for STEM disciplines.

    Modern Berkeley students are less politically radical, with a greater percentage of moderates and conservatives than in the 1960s and 70s. Democrats outnumber Republicans on the faculty by a ratio of 9:1. On the whole, Democrats outnumber Republicans on American university campuses by a ratio of 10:1.

    In 2007, the Energy Biosciences Institute was established with funding from BP and Stanley Hall, a research facility and headquarters for the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, opened. The next few years saw the dedication of the Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences, funded by a lead gift from billionaire Li Ka-shing; the opening of Sutardja Dai Hall, home of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society; and the unveiling of Blum Hall, housing the Blum Center for Developing Economies. Supported by a grant from alumnus James Simons, the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing was established in 2012. In 2014, Berkeley and its sister campus, Univerity of California-San Fransisco (US), established the Innovative Genomics Institute, and, in 2020, an anonymous donor pledged $252 million to help fund a new center for computing and data science.

    Since 2000, Berkeley alumni and faculty have received 40 Nobel Prizes, behind only Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) among US universities; five Turing Awards, behind only MIT and Stanford; and five Fields Medals, second only to Princeton University (US). According to PitchBook, Berkeley ranks second, just behind Stanford University, in producing VC-backed entrepreneurs.

    UC Berkeley Seal

  • richardmitnick 1:39 pm on September 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Quantum Mechanics   

    From Northwestern University (US) via phys.org : “Researchers develop new tool for analyzing large superconducting circuits” 

    Northwestern U bloc

    From Northwestern University (US)



    September 13, 2021

    Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain.

    The next generation of computing and information processing lies in the intriguing world of quantum mechanics. Quantum computers are expected to be capable of solving large, extremely complex problems that are beyond the capacity of today’s most powerful supercomputers.

    New research tools are needed to advance the field and fully develop quantum computers. Now Northwestern University researchers have developed and tested a theoretical tool for analyzing large superconducting circuits. These circuits use superconducting quantum bits, or qubits, the smallest units of a quantum computer, to store information.

    Circuit size is important since protection from detrimental noise tends to come at the cost of increased circuit complexity. Currently there are few tools that tackle the modeling of large circuits, making the Northwestern method an important contribution to the research community.

    “Our framework is inspired by methods originally developed for the study of electrons in crystals and allows us to obtain quantitative predictions for circuits that were previously hard or impossible to access,” said Daniel Weiss, corresponding and first author of the paper. He is a fourth-year graduate student in the research group of Jens Koch, an expert in superconducting qubits.

    Koch, an associate professor of physics and astronomy in Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, is a member of the Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems Center (SQMS) and the Co-design Center for Quantum Advantage (C2QA). Both national centers were established last year by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). SQMS is focused on building and deploying a beyond-state-of-the-art quantum computer based on superconducting technologies. C2QA is building the fundamental tools necessary to create scalable, distributed and fault-tolerant quantum computer systems.

    “We are excited to contribute to the missions pursued by these two DOE centers and to add to Northwestern’s visibility in the field of quantum information science,” Koch said.

    In their study, the Northwestern researchers illustrate the use of their theoretical tool by extracting from a protected circuit quantitative information that was unobtainable using standard techniques.

    Details were published today (Sept. 13) in the open access journal Physical Review Research.

    The researchers specifically studied protected qubits. These qubits are protected from detrimental noise by design and could yield coherence times (how long quantum information is retained) that are much longer than current state-of-the-art qubits.

    These superconducting circuits are necessarily large, and the Northwestern tool is a means for quantifying the behavior of these circuits. There are some existing tools that can analyze large superconducting circuits, but each works well only when certain conditions are met. The Northwestern method is complementary and works well when these other tools may give suboptimal results.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Northwestern South Campus
    South Campus

    Northwestern University (US) is a private research university in Evanston, Illinois. Founded in 1851 to serve the former Northwest Territory, the university is a founding member of the Big Ten Conference.

    On May 31, 1850, nine men gathered to begin planning a university that would serve the Northwest Territory.

    Given that they had little money, no land and limited higher education experience, their vision was ambitious. But through a combination of creative financing, shrewd politicking, religious inspiration and an abundance of hard work, the founders of Northwestern University were able to make that dream a reality.

    In 1853, the founders purchased a 379-acre tract of land on the shore of Lake Michigan 12 miles north of Chicago. They established a campus and developed the land near it, naming the surrounding town Evanston in honor of one of the University’s founders, John Evans. After completing its first building in 1855, Northwestern began classes that fall with two faculty members and 10 students.
    Twenty-one presidents have presided over Northwestern in the years since. The University has grown to include 12 schools and colleges, with additional campuses in Chicago and Doha, Qatar.

    Northwestern is known for its focus on interdisciplinary education, extensive research output, and student traditions. The university provides instruction in over 200 formal academic concentrations, including various dual degree programs. The university is composed of eleven undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, which include the Kellogg School of Management, the Pritzker School of Law, the Feinberg School of Medicine, the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the Bienen School of Music, the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Medill School of Journalism, the School of Communication, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Education and Social Policy, and The Graduate School. As of fall 2019, the university had 21,946 enrolled students, including 8,327 undergraduates and 13,619 graduate students.

    Valued at $12.2 billion, Northwestern’s endowment is among the largest university endowments in the United States. Its numerous research programs bring in nearly $900 million in sponsored research each year.

    Northwestern’s main 240-acre (97 ha) campus lies along the shores of Lake Michigan in Evanston, 12 miles north of Downtown Chicago. The university’s law, medical, and professional schools, along with its nationally ranked Northwestern Memorial Hospital, are located on a 25-acre (10 ha) campus in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood. The university also maintains a campus in Doha, Qatar and locations in San Francisco, California, Washington, D.C. and Miami, Florida.

    As of October 2020, Northwestern’s faculty and alumni have included 1 Fields Medalist, 22 Nobel Prize laureates, 40 Pulitzer Prize winners, 6 MacArthur Fellows, 17 Rhodes Scholars, 27 Marshall Scholars, 23 National Medal of Science winners, 11 National Humanities Medal recipients, 84 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 10 living billionaires, 16 Olympic medalists, and 2 U.S. Supreme Court Justices. Northwestern alumni have founded notable companies and organizations such as the Mayo Clinic, The Blackstone Group, Kirkland & Ellis, U.S. Steel, Guggenheim Partners, Accenture, Aon Corporation, AQR Capital, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Melvin Capital.

    The foundation of Northwestern University can be traced to a meeting on May 31, 1850, of nine prominent Chicago businessmen, Methodist leaders, and attorneys who had formed the idea of establishing a university to serve what had been known from 1787 to 1803 as the Northwest Territory. On January 28, 1851, the Illinois General Assembly granted a charter to the Trustees of the North-Western University, making it the first chartered university in Illinois. The school’s nine founders, all of whom were Methodists (three of them ministers), knelt in prayer and worship before launching their first organizational meeting. Although they affiliated the university with the Methodist Episcopal Church, they favored a non-sectarian admissions policy, believing that Northwestern should serve all people in the newly developing territory by bettering the economy in Evanston.

    John Evans, for whom Evanston is named, bought 379 acres (153 ha) of land along Lake Michigan in 1853, and Philo Judson developed plans for what would become the city of Evanston, Illinois. The first building, Old College, opened on November 5, 1855. To raise funds for its construction, Northwestern sold $100 “perpetual scholarships” entitling the purchaser and his heirs to free tuition. Another building, University Hall, was built in 1869 of the same Joliet limestone as the Chicago Water Tower, also built in 1869, one of the few buildings in the heart of Chicago to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. In 1873 the Evanston College for Ladies merged with Northwestern, and Frances Willard, who later gained fame as a suffragette and as one of the founders of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), became the school’s first dean of women (Willard Residential College, built in 1938, honors her name). Northwestern admitted its first female students in 1869, and the first woman was graduated in 1874.

    Northwestern fielded its first intercollegiate football team in 1882, later becoming a founding member of the Big Ten Conference. In the 1870s and 1880s, Northwestern affiliated itself with already existing schools of law, medicine, and dentistry in Chicago. Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law is the oldest law school in Chicago. As the university’s enrollments grew, these professional schools were integrated with the undergraduate college in Evanston; the result was a modern research university combining professional, graduate, and undergraduate programs, which gave equal weight to teaching and research. By the turn of the century, Northwestern had grown in stature to become the third largest university in the United States after Harvard University(US) and the University of Michigan(US).

    Under Walter Dill Scott’s presidency from 1920 to 1939, Northwestern began construction of an integrated campus in Chicago designed by James Gamble Rogers, noted for his design of the Yale University(US) campus, to house the professional schools. The university also established the Kellogg School of Management and built several prominent buildings on the Evanston campus, including Dyche Stadium, now named Ryan Field, and Deering Library among others. In the 1920s, Northwestern became one of the first six universities in the United States to establish a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC). In 1939, Northwestern hosted the first-ever NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship game in the original Patten Gymnasium, which was later demolished and relocated farther north, along with the Dearborn Observatory, to make room for the Technological Institute.

    After the golden years of the 1920s, the Great Depression in the United States (1929–1941) had a severe impact on the university’s finances. Its annual income dropped 25 percent from $4.8 million in 1930-31 to $3.6 million in 1933-34. Investment income shrank, fewer people could pay full tuition, and annual giving from alumni and philanthropists fell from $870,000 in 1932 to a low of $331,000 in 1935. The university responded with two salary cuts of 10 percent each for all employees. It imposed hiring and building freezes and slashed appropriations for maintenance, books, and research. Having had a balanced budget in 1930-31, the university now faced deficits of roughly $100,000 for the next four years. Enrollments fell in most schools, with law and music suffering the biggest declines. However, the movement toward state certification of school teachers prompted Northwestern to start a new graduate program in education, thereby bringing in new students and much needed income. In June 1933, Robert Maynard Hutchins, president of the University of Chicago(US), proposed a merger of the two universities, estimating annual savings of $1.7 million. The two presidents were enthusiastic, and the faculty liked the idea; many Northwestern alumni, however, opposed it, fearing the loss of their Alma Mater and its many traditions that distinguished Northwestern from Chicago. The medical school, for example, was oriented toward training practitioners, and alumni feared it would lose its mission if it were merged into the more research-oriented University of Chicago Medical School. The merger plan was ultimately dropped. In 1935, the Deering family rescued the university budget with an unrestricted gift of $6 million, bringing the budget up to $5.4 million in 1938-39. This allowed many of the previous spending cuts to be restored, including half of the salary reductions.

    Like other American research universities, Northwestern was transformed by World War II (1939–1945). Regular enrollment fell dramatically, but the school opened high-intensity, short-term programs that trained over 50,000 military personnel, including future president John F. Kennedy. Northwestern’s existing NROTC program proved to be a boon to the university as it trained over 36,000 sailors over the course of the war, leading Northwestern to be called the “Annapolis of the Midwest.” Franklyn B. Snyder led the university from 1939 to 1949, and after the war, surging enrollments under the G.I. Bill drove dramatic expansion of both campuses. In 1948, prominent anthropologist Melville J. Herskovits founded the Program of African Studies at Northwestern, the first center of its kind at an American academic institution. J. Roscoe Miller’s tenure as president from 1949 to 1970 saw an expansion of the Evanston campus, with the construction of the Lakefill on Lake Michigan, growth of the faculty and new academic programs, and polarizing Vietnam-era student protests. In 1978, the first and second Unabomber attacks occurred at Northwestern University. Relations between Evanston and Northwestern became strained throughout much of the post-war era because of episodes of disruptive student activism, disputes over municipal zoning, building codes, and law enforcement, as well as restrictions on the sale of alcohol near campus until 1972. Northwestern’s exemption from state and municipal property-tax obligations under its original charter has historically been a source of town-and-gown tension.

    Although government support for universities declined in the 1970s and 1980s, President Arnold R. Weber was able to stabilize university finances, leading to a revitalization of its campuses. As admissions to colleges and universities grew increasingly competitive in the 1990s and 2000s, President Henry S. Bienen’s tenure saw a notable increase in the number and quality of undergraduate applicants, continued expansion of the facilities and faculty, and renewed athletic competitiveness. In 1999, Northwestern student journalists uncovered information exonerating Illinois death-row inmate Anthony Porter two days before his scheduled execution. The Innocence Project has since exonerated 10 more men. On January 11, 2003, in a speech at Northwestern School of Law’s Lincoln Hall, then Governor of Illinois George Ryan announced that he would commute the sentences of more than 150 death-row inmates.

    In the 2010s, a 5-year capital campaign resulted in a new music center, a replacement building for the business school, and a $270 million athletic complex. In 2014, President Barack Obama delivered a seminal economics speech at the Evanston campus.

    Organization and administration


    Northwestern is privately owned and governed by an appointed Board of Trustees, which is composed of 70 members and, as of 2011, has been chaired by William A. Osborn ’69. The board delegates its power to an elected president who serves as the chief executive officer of the university. Northwestern has had sixteen presidents in its history (excluding interim presidents). The current president, economist Morton O. Schapiro, succeeded Henry Bienen whose 14-year tenure ended on August 31, 2009. The president maintains a staff of vice presidents, directors, and other assistants for administrative, financial, faculty, and student matters. Kathleen Haggerty assumed the role of interim provost for the university in April 2020.

    Students are formally involved in the university’s administration through the Associated Student Government, elected representatives of the undergraduate students, and the Graduate Student Association, which represents the university’s graduate students.

    The admission requirements, degree requirements, courses of study, and disciplinary and degree recommendations for each of Northwestern’s 12 schools are determined by the voting members of that school’s faculty (assistant professor and above).

    Undergraduate and graduate schools

    Evanston Campus:

    Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (1851)
    School of Communication (1878)
    Bienen School of Music (1895)
    McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science (1909)
    Medill School of Journalism (1921)
    School of Education and Social Policy (1926)
    School of Professional Studies (1933)

    Graduate and professional

    Evanston Campus

    Kellogg School of Management (1908)
    The Graduate School

    Chicago Campus

    Feinberg School of Medicine (1859)
    Kellogg School of Management (1908)
    Pritzker School of Law (1859)
    School of Professional Studies (1933)

    Northwestern University had a dental school from 1891 to May 31, 2001, when it closed.


    In 1996, Princess Diana made a trip to Evanston to raise money for the university hospital’s Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at the invitation of then President Bienen. Her visit raised a total of $1.5 million for cancer research.

    In 2003, Northwestern finished a five-year capital campaign that raised $1.55 billion, exceeding its fundraising goal by $550 million.

    In 2014, Northwestern launched the “We Will” campaign with a fundraising goal of $3.75 billion. As of December 31, 2019, the university has received $4.78 billion from 164,026 donors.


    In January 2009, the Green Power Partnership (sponsored by the EPA) listed Northwestern as one of the top 10 universities in the country in purchasing energy from renewable sources. The university matches 74 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of its annual energy use with Green-e Certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). This green power commitment represents 30 percent of the university’s total annual electricity use and places Northwestern in the EPA’s Green Power Leadership Club. The Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN), supporting research, teaching and outreach in these themes, was launched in 2008.

    Northwestern requires that all new buildings be LEED-certified. Silverman Hall on the Evanston campus was awarded Gold LEED Certification in 2010; Wieboldt Hall on the Chicago campus was awarded Gold LEED Certification in 2007, and the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center on the Evanston campus was awarded Silver LEED Certification in 2006. New construction and renovation projects will be designed to provide at least a 20% improvement over energy code requirements where feasible. At the beginning of the 2008–09 academic year, the university also released the Evanston Campus Framework Plan, which outlines plans for future development of the university’s Evanston campus. The plan not only emphasizes sustainable building construction, but also focuses on reducing the energy costs of transportation by optimizing pedestrian and bicycle access. Northwestern has had a comprehensive recycling program in place since 1990. The university recycles over 1,500 tons of waste, or 30% of all waste produced on campus, each year. All landscape waste at the university is composted.


    Education and rankings

    Northwestern is a large, residential research university, and is frequently ranked among the top universities in the United States. The university is a leading institution in the fields of materials engineering, chemistry, business, economics, education, journalism, and communications. It is also prominent in law and medicine. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the respective national professional organizations for chemistry, psychology, business, education, journalism, music, engineering, law, and medicine, the university offers 124 undergraduate programs and 145 graduate and professional programs. Northwestern conferred 2,190 bachelor’s degrees, 3,272 master’s degrees, 565 doctoral degrees, and 444 professional degrees in 2012–2013. Since 1951, Northwestern has awarded 520 honorary degrees. Northwestern also has chapters of academic honor societies such as Phi Beta Kappa (Alpha of Illinois), Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Sigma Phi (Beta Chapter), Lambda Pi Eta, and Alpha Sigma Lambda (Alpha Chapter).

    The four-year, full-time undergraduate program comprises the majority of enrollments at the university. Although there is no university-wide core curriculum, a foundation in the liberal arts and sciences is required for all majors; individual degree requirements are set by the faculty of each school. The university heavily emphasizes interdisciplinary learning, with 72% of undergrads combining two or more areas of study. Northwestern’s full-time undergraduate and graduate programs operate on an approximately 10-week academic quarter system with the academic year beginning in late September and ending in early June. Undergraduates typically take four courses each quarter and twelve courses in an academic year and are required to complete at least twelve quarters on campus to graduate. Northwestern offers honors, accelerated, and joint degree programs in medicine, science, mathematics, engineering, and journalism. The comprehensive doctoral graduate program has high coexistence with undergraduate programs.

    Despite being a mid-sized university, Northwestern maintains a relatively low student to faculty ratio of 6:1.


    Northwestern was elected to the Association of American Universities (US)in 1917 and is classified as an R1 university, denoting “very high” research activity. Northwestern’s schools of management, engineering, and communication are among the most academically productive in the nation. The university received $887.3 million in research funding in 2019 and houses over 90 school-based and 40 university-wide research institutes and centers. Northwestern also supports nearly 1,500 research laboratories across two campuses, predominately in the medical and biological sciences.

    Northwestern is home to the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics, Northwestern Institute for Complex Systems, Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, Materials Research Center, Center for Quantum Devices, Institute for Policy Research, International Institute for Nanotechnology, Center for Catalysis and Surface Science, Buffet Center for International and Comparative Studies, the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern, and the Argonne/Northwestern Solar Energy Research Center among other centers for interdisciplinary research.

    Student body

    Northwestern enrolled 8,186 full-time undergraduate, 9,904 full-time graduate, and 3,856 part-time students in the 2019–2020 academic year. The freshman retention rate for that year was 98%. 86% of students graduated after four years and 92% graduated after five years. These numbers can largely be attributed to the university’s various specialized degree programs, such as those that allow students to earn master’s degrees with a one or two year extension of their undergraduate program.

    The undergraduate population is drawn from all 50 states and over 75 foreign countries. 20% of students in the Class of 2024 were Pell Grant recipients and 12.56% were first-generation college students. Northwestern also enrolls the 9th-most National Merit Scholars of any university in the nation.

    In Fall 2014, 40.6% of undergraduate students were enrolled in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, 21.3% in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, 14.3% in the School of Communication, 11.7% in the Medill School of Journalism, 5.7% in the Bienen School of Music, and 6.4% in the School of Education and Social Policy. The five most commonly awarded undergraduate degrees are economics, journalism, communication studies, psychology, and political science. The Kellogg School of Management’s MBA, the School of Law’s JD, and the Feinberg School of Medicine’s MD are the three largest professional degree programs by enrollment. With 2,446 students enrolled in science, engineering, and health fields, the largest graduate programs by enrollment include chemistry, integrated biology, material sciences, electrical and computer engineering, neuroscience, and economics.


    Northwestern is a charter member of the Big Ten Conference. It is the conference’s only private university and possesses the smallest undergraduate enrollment (the next-smallest member, the University of Iowa, is roughly three times as large, with almost 22,000 undergraduates).

    Northwestern fields 19 intercollegiate athletic teams (8 men’s and 11 women’s) in addition to numerous club sports. 12 of Northwestern’s varsity programs have had NCAA or bowl postseason appearances. Northwestern is one of five private AAU members to compete in NCAA Power Five conferences (the other four being Duke, Stanford, USC, and Vanderbilt) and maintains a 98% NCAA Graduation Success Rate, the highest among Football Bowl Subdivision schools.

    In 2018, the school opened the Walter Athletics Center, a $270 million state of the art lakefront facility for its athletics teams.

    Nickname and mascot

    Before 1924, Northwestern teams were known as “The Purple” and unofficially as “The Fighting Methodists.” The name Wildcats was bestowed upon the university in 1924 by Wallace Abbey, a writer for the Chicago Daily Tribune, who wrote that even in a loss to the University of Chicago, “Football players had not come down from Evanston; wildcats would be a name better suited to “[Coach Glenn] Thistletwaite’s boys.” The name was so popular that university board members made “Wildcats” the official nickname just months later. In 1972, the student body voted to change the official nickname to “Purple Haze,” but the new name never stuck.

    The mascot of Northwestern Athletics is “Willie the Wildcat”. Prior to Willie, the team mascot had been a live, caged bear cub from the Lincoln Park Zoo named Furpaw, who was brought to the playing field on game days to greet the fans. After a losing season however, the team decided that Furpaw was to blame for its misfortune and decided to select a new mascot. “Willie the Wildcat” made his debut in 1933, first as a logo and then in three dimensions in 1947, when members of the Alpha Delta fraternity dressed as wildcats during a Homecoming Parade.


    Northwestern’s official motto, “Quaecumque sunt vera,” was adopted by the university in 1890. The Latin phrase translates to “Whatsoever things are true” and comes from the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians (Philippians 4:8), in which St. Paul admonishes the Christians in the Greek city of Philippi. In addition to this motto, the university crest features a Greek phrase taken from the Gospel of John inscribed on the pages of an open book, ήρης χάριτος και αληθείας or “the word full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
    Alma Mater is the Northwestern Hymn. The original Latin version of the hymn was written in 1907 by Peter Christian Lutkin, the first dean of the School of Music from 1883 to 1931. In 1953, then Director-of-Bands John Paynter recruited an undergraduate music student, Thomas Tyra (’54), to write an English version of the song, which today is performed by the Marching Band during halftime at Wildcat football games and by the orchestra during ceremonies and other special occasions.
    Purple became Northwestern’s official color in 1892, replacing black and gold after a university committee concluded that too many other universities had used these colors. Today, Northwestern’s official color is purple, although white is something of an official color as well, being mentioned in both the university’s earliest song, Alma Mater (1907) (“Hail to purple, hail to white”) and in many university guidelines.
    The Rock, a 6-foot high quartzite boulder donated by the Class of 1902, originally served as a water fountain. It was painted over by students in the 1940s as a prank and has since become a popular vehicle of self-expression on campus.
    Armadillo Day, commonly known as Dillo Day, is the largest student-run music festival in the country. The festival is hosted every Spring on Northwestern’s Lakefront.
    Primal Scream is held every quarter at 9 p.m. on the Sunday before finals week. Students lean out of windows or gather in courtyards and scream to help relieve stress.
    In the past, students would throw marshmallows during football games, but this tradition has since been discontinued.


    One of Northwestern’s most notable student charity events is Dance Marathon, the most established and largest student-run philanthropy in the nation. The annual 30-hour event is among the most widely-attended events on campus. It has raised over $1 million for charity ever year since 2011 and has donated a total of $13 million to children’s charities since its conception.

    The Northwestern Community Development Corps (NCDC) is a student-run organization that connects hundreds of student volunteers to community development projects in Evanston and Chicago throughout the year. The group also holds a number of annual community events, including Project Pumpkin, a Halloween celebration that provides over 800 local children with carnival events and a safe venue to trick-or-treat each year.

    Many Northwestern students participate in the Freshman Urban Program, an initiative for students interested in community service to work on addressing social issues facing the city of Chicago, and the university’s Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI) programs, including group service-learning expeditions in Asia, Africa, or Latin America in conjunction with the Foundation for Sustainable Development.

    Several internationally recognized non-profit organizations were established at Northwestern, including the World Health Imaging, Informatics and Telemedicine Alliance, a spin-off from an engineering student’s honors thesis.


    Established in 1881, The Daily Northwestern is the university’s main student newspaper and is published on weekdays during the academic year. It is directed entirely by undergraduate students and owned by the Students Publishing Company. Although it serves the Northwestern community, the Daily has no business ties to the university and is supported wholly by advertisers.
    North by Northwestern is an online undergraduate magazine established in September 2006 by students at the Medill School of Journalism. Published on weekdays, it consists of updates on news stories and special events throughout the year. It also publishes a quarterly print magazine.
    Syllabus is the university’s undergraduate yearbook. It is distributed in late May and features a culmination of the year’s events at Northwestern. First published in 1885, the yearbook is published by Students Publishing Company and edited by Northwestern students.
    Northwestern Flipside is an undergraduate satirical magazine. Founded in 2009, it publishes a weekly issue both in print and online.
    Helicon is the university’s undergraduate literary magazine. Established in 1979, it is published twice a year: a web issue is released in the winter and a print issue with a web complement is released in the spring.
    The Protest is Northwestern’s quarterly social justice magazine.
    The Northwestern division of Student Multicultural Affairs supports a number of publications for particular cultural groups including Ahora, a magazine about Hispanic and Latino/a culture and campus life; Al Bayan, published by the Northwestern Muslim-cultural Student Association; BlackBoard Magazine, a magazine centered around African-American student life; and NUAsian, a magazine and blog on Asian and Asian-American culture and issues.
    The Northwestern University Law Review is a scholarly legal publication and student organization at Northwestern University School of Law. Its primary purpose is to publish a journal of broad legal scholarship. The Law Review publishes six issues each year. Student editors make the editorial and organizational decisions and select articles submitted by professors, judges, and practitioners, as well as student pieces. The Law Review also publishes scholarly pieces weekly on the Colloquy.
    The Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property is a law review published by an independent student organization at Northwestern University School of Law.
    The Northwestern Interdisciplinary Law Review is a scholarly legal publication published annually by an editorial board of Northwestern undergraduates. Its mission is to publish interdisciplinary legal research, drawing from fields such as history, literature, economics, philosophy, and art. Founded in 2008, the journal features articles by professors, law students, practitioners, and undergraduates. It is funded by the Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies and the Office of the Provost.


    Established in January 2011, Sherman Ave is a humor website that often publishes content on Northwestern student life. Most of its staff writers are current Northwestern undergraduates writing under various pseudonyms. The website is popular among students for its interviews of prominent campus figures, Freshman Guide, and live-tweeting coverage of football games. In Fall 2012, the website promoted a satiric campaign to end the Vanderbilt University football team’s custom of clubbing baby seals.
    Politics & Policy is dedicated to the analysis of current events and public policy. Established in 2010 by students at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, School of Communication, and Medill School of Journalism, the publication reaches students on more than 250 college campuses around the world. Run entirely by undergraduates, it is published several times a week and features material ranging from short summaries of events to extended research pieces. The publication is financed in part by the Buffett Center.
    Northwestern Business Review is a campus source for business news. Founded in 2005, it has an online presence as well as a quarterly print schedule.
    TriQuarterly Online (formerly TriQuarterly) is a literary magazine published twice a year featuring poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, literary essays, reviews, blog posts, and art.
    The Queer Reader is Northwestern’s first radical feminist and LGBTQ+ publication.

    Radio, film, and television

    WNUR (89.3 FM) is a 7,200-watt radio station that broadcasts to the city of Chicago and its northern suburbs. WNUR’s programming consists of music (jazz, classical, and rock), literature, politics, current events, varsity sports (football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, and women’s lacrosse), and breaking news on weekdays.
    Studio 22 is a student-run production company that produces roughly ten films each year. The organization financed the first film Zach Braff directed, and many of its films have featured students who would later go into professional acting, including Zach Gilford of Friday Night Lights.
    Applause for a Cause is currently the only student-run production company in the nation to create feature-length films for charity. It was founded in 2010 and has raised over $5,000 to date for various local and national organizations across the United States.
    Northwestern News Network is a student television news and sports network, serving the Northwestern and Evanston communities. Its studios and newsroom are located on the fourth floor of the McCormick Tribune Center on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. NNN is funded by the Medill School of Journalism.

  • richardmitnick 4:12 pm on September 7, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Exploring quantum gravity—for whom the pendulum swings", Entanglement: a phenomenon in which two widely separated particles can be so strongly correlated that they behave as a single entity., In a quantum theory of gravity the gravitational attraction between two massive objects would be communicated by a hypothetical subatomic particle: the graviton., , Quantum Mechanics, Superposition: an undisturbed atomic particle can be described as a wave with some probability of being in two places at once., The experiment would use a cold cloud of atoms trapped inside an atomic interferometer., When it comes to a marriage with quantum theory gravity is the lone holdout among the four fundamental forces in nature.   

    From National Institute of Standards and Technology (US) : “Exploring quantum gravity—for whom the pendulum swings” 

    From National Institute of Standards and Technology (US)

    August 18, 2021

    Jacob Taylor
    (301) 975-8586

    All tangled up: A proposed experiment seeks to determine whether gravity is a quantum force.

    When it comes to a marriage with quantum theory gravity is the lone holdout among the four fundamental forces in nature. The three others—the electromagnetic force, the weak force, which is responsible for radioactive decay, and the strong force, which binds neutrons and protons together within the atomic nucleus—have all merged with quantum theory to successfully describe the universe on the tiniest of scales, where the laws of quantum mechanics must play a leading role.

    Although Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which describes gravity as a curvature of space-time, explains a multitude of gravitational phenomena, it fails within the tiniest of volumes—the center of a black hole or the universe at its explosive birth, when it was less than an atomic diameter in size. That’s where quantum mechanics ought to dominate.

    Yet over the past eight decades, expert after expert, including Einstein, have been unable to unite quantum theory with gravity. So, is gravity truly a quantum force?

    Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their colleagues have now proposed an experiment that may help settle the question.

    (1) In an atomic interferometer, the atom’s wave function is split into left and right arms. The left and right arms are then recombined, producing an interference pattern. Credit: S. Kelley/NIST.

    (2) When the experiment begins, the atom’s wave function is unaffected by the pendulum. This means the two arms of the single atom interfere fully with each other. Credit: S. Kelley/NIST.

    (3) If gravitational attraction indeed causes an entanglement between the pendulum and the atom, the pendulum will partially measure the position of the atom, concentrating it into one arm or the other. Credit: S. Kelley/NIST.

    (4) After each half oscillation period, the pendulum will return to where it started, losing all memory of the gravitational entanglement it had created and restoring full interference. Credit: S. Kelley/NIST.

    The experiment takes advantage of two of the weirdest properties of quantum theory. One is the superposition principle, which holds that an undisturbed atomic particle can be described as a wave with some probability of being in two places at once. For instance, an undisturbed atom traveling through a region with two slits, passes through not one or the other of the slits but both. And because the atom is described by a wave, the portion that passes through one slit will interfere with the part that passes through the other, producing a well-known pattern of bright and dark fringes. The bright fringes correspond to regions where the hills and valleys of the two waves align so that they add together, creating constructive interference and the dark regions correspond to regions where the hills and valleys of the waves cancel each out, creating destructive interference.

    The second strange quantum property is known as entanglement, a phenomenon in which two particles can be so strongly correlated that they behave as a single entity. Measuring a property of one of the particles automatically forces the other to have a complementary property, even if the two particles reside galaxies apart.

    In a quantum theory of gravity the gravitational attraction between two massive objects would be communicated by a hypothetical subatomic particle: the graviton, in the same way that the electromagnetic interaction between two charged particles is communicated by a photon (the fundamental particle of light). So, if a graviton truly exists, it should be able to connect, or entangle, the properties of two massive bodies, just as a photon can entangle the properties of two charged particles

    The proposed experiment by Jake Taylor of NIST’s Joint Quantum Institute (US) at The University of Maryland (US), along with Daniel Carney, now at the DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (US), and Holger Müller of The University of California-Berkeley (US), provides a clever way to test if two massive bodies can indeed become entangled by gravity. They described their work in an article published online in Physical Review X Quantum on August 18, 2021.

    The experiment would use a cold cloud of atoms trapped inside an atomic interferometer. The interferometer has two arms—a left arm and a right. According to the superposition principle, if each atom in the cloud is in a pure, undisturbed quantum state, it can be described as a wave occupying both arms simultaneously. When the two portions of the wave, one from each arm, recombine, they will produce an interference pattern that reveals any changes to their paths due to forces like gravity.

    A small, initially stationary mass suspended as a pendulum is introduced just outside the interferometer. The suspended mass and the atom are gravitationally attracted. If that gravitational tug also produces entanglement, what would that look like?

    The suspended mass will become correlated with a specific location for the atom—either the right arm of the interferometer or the left. As a result, the mass will start swinging to the left or the right. If the atom is located on the left, the pendulum will start swinging to the left; if the atom is located on the right, the pendulum will start swinging to the right. Gravity has entangled the position of the atom in the interferometer with the direction in which the pendulum begins swinging.

    The position entanglement means that the pendulum has effectively measured the location of the atom, pinpointing it to a particular site within the interferometer. Because the atom is no longer in a superposition of being in both arms at the same time, the interference pattern vanishes or diminishes.

    Half a period later, when the swinging mass returns to its starting point, it loses all “memory” of the gravitational entanglement it had created. That’s because regardless of what path the pendulum took–initially swinging to the right, which picks out a location for the atom in the right interferometer arm, or initially swinging to the left, which picks out a location for the atom in the left arm–it returns to the same starting position, much like a child on a swing. And when it returns to the starting position, it’s equally likely that the pendulum will pick out a location for the atom in the left or right arm. At that moment, entanglement between the mass and the atom has been erased and the atomic interference pattern reappears.

    Half a period after that, as the pendulum swings to one side or the other, entanglement is re-established and the interference pattern diminishes once again. As the pendulum swings back and forth the pattern repeats—interference, diminished interference, interference. This collapse and revival of interference, the scientists say, would be a “smoking gun” for entanglement.

    “It is difficult for any phenomenon other than gravitational entanglement to produce such a cycle,” said Carney.

    Although the ideal experiment may be a decade or more from being built, a preliminary version could be ready in just a few years. A variety of shortcuts could be exploited to make things easier to observe, Taylor said. The biggest shortcut is to embrace the assumption, similar to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, that it doesn’t matter when you start the experiment — you should always get the same result.

    Taylor noted that non-gravitational sources of quantum entanglement must be considered, which will require careful design and measurements to preclude.

    See the full article here.


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  • richardmitnick 10:03 pm on August 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "This Physicist Discovered an Escape From Hawking’s Black Hole Paradox", , In 1974 Stephen Hawking calculated that black holes’ secrets die with them., , , Quantum Mechanics   

    From Quanta Magazine (US) : “This Physicist Discovered an Escape From Hawking’s Black Hole Paradox” 

    From Quanta Magazine (US)

    August 23, 2021
    Natalie Wolchover

    Netta Engelhardt puzzles over the fates of black holes in her office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Credit: Tira Khan for Quanta Magazine.

    In 1974 Stephen Hawking calculated that black holes’ secrets die with them. Random quantum jitter on the spherical outer boundary, or “event horizon,” of a black hole will cause the hole to radiate particles and slowly shrink to nothing. Any record of the star whose violent contraction formed the black hole — and whatever else got swallowed up after — then seemed to be permanently lost.

    Hawking’s calculation posed a paradox — the infamous “black hole information paradox” — that has motivated research in fundamental physics ever since. On the one hand, quantum mechanics, the rulebook for particles, says that information about particles’ past states gets carried forward as they evolve — a bedrock principle called “unitarity.” But black holes take their cues from general relativity, the theory that space and time form a bendy fabric and gravity is the fabric’s curves. Hawking had tried to apply quantum mechanics to particles near a black hole’s periphery, and saw unitarity break down.

    So do evaporating black holes really destroy information, meaning unitarity is not a true principle of nature? Or does information escape as a black hole evaporates? Solving the information paradox quickly came to be seen as a route to discovering the true, quantum theory of gravity, which general relativity approximates well everywhere except black holes.

    In the past two years, a network of quantum gravity theorists, mostly millennials, has made enormous progress on Hawking’s paradox. One of the leading researchers is Netta Engelhardt, a 32-year-old theoretical physicist at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US). She and her colleagues have completed a new calculation that corrects Hawking’s 1974 formula; theirs indicates that information does, in fact, escape black holes via their radiation. She and Aron Wall identified an invisible surface that lies inside a black hole’s event horizon, called the “quantum extremal surface.” In 2019, Engelhardt and others showed that this surface seems to encode the amount of information that has radiated away from the black hole, evolving over the hole’s lifetime exactly as expected if information escapes.

    Engelhardt received a 2021 New Horizons in Physics Prize “for calculating the quantum information content of a black hole and its radiation.” Ahmed Almheiri of The Institute for Advanced Study (US), a frequent collaborator, noted her “deeply rooted intuition for the intricate workings of gravity,” particularly in the discovery of quantum extremal surfaces.

    Engelhardt set her sights on quantum gravity when she was 9 years old. She moved to Boston from Israel that year with her family, and, not knowing any English, read every book in Hebrew she could find in her house. The last was Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. “What that book did for me was trigger a desire to understand the fundamental building blocks of the universe,” she said. “From then on, I was sort of finding my own way, watching different popular science videos and asking questions of anybody who might have the answers, and narrowing down what I wanted to work on.” She ultimately found her way to Hawking’s paradox.

    When Quanta Magazine caught up with Engelhardt in a recent video call, she emphasized that the full solution to the paradox — and the quantum theory of gravity — is a work in progress. We discussed that progress, which centrally involves the concept of entropy, and the search for a “reverse algorithm” that would allow someone to reconstruct a black hole’s past. The conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.

    Would you say you and your colleagues have solved the black hole information paradox?

    Not yet. We’ve made a lot of progress toward a resolution. That’s part of what makes the field so exciting; we’re moving forward — and we’re not doing it so slowly, either — but there’s still a lot that we have to uncover and understand.

    Could you summarize what you’ve figured out so far?

    Certainly. Along the way there have been a number of very important developments. One I will mention is a 1993 paper by Don Page [Physical Review Letters]. Page said, suppose that information is conserved. Then the entropy of everything outside of a black hole starts out at some value, increases, then has to go back down to the original value once the black hole has evaporated altogether. Whereas Hawking’s calculation predicts that the entropy increases, and once the black hole is evaporated completely, it just plateaus at some value and that’s it.

    Samuel Velasco/Quanta Magazine.

    So the question became, which entropy curve is right. Normally, entropy is the number of possible indistinguishable configurations of a system. What’s the best way to understand entropy in this black hole context?

    You could think of this entropy as ignorance of the state of affairs in the black hole interior. The more possibilities there are for what could be going on in the black hole interior, the more ignorant you will be about which configuration the system is in. So this entropy measures ignorance.

    Page’s discovery was that if you assume that the evolution of the universe doesn’t lose information, then, if you start out with zero ignorance about the universe before a black hole forms, eventually you’re going to end up with zero ignorance once the black hole is gone, since all the information that went in has come back out. That’s in conflict with what Hawking derived, which was that eventually you end up with ignorance.

    You characterize Page’s insight and all other work on the information paradox prior to 2019 as “understanding the problem better.” What happened in 2019?

    The activity that started in 2019 is the steps towards actually resolving the problem. The two papers that kicked this off were work by myself, Ahmed Almheiri, Don Marolf and Henry Maxfield3 and, in parallel, the second paper, which came out at the same time, by Geoff Penington. We submitted our papers on the same day and coordinated because we knew we were both onto the same thing.

    The idea was to calculate the entropy in a different way. This is where Don Page’s calculation was very important for us. If we use Hawking’s method and his assumptions, we get a formula for the entropy which is not consistent with unitarity. Now we want to understand how we could possibly do a calculation that would give us the curve of the entropy that Page proposed, which goes up then comes back down.

    And for this we relied on a proposal that Aron Wall and I gave in 2014: the quantum extremal surface proposal, which essentially states that the so-called quantum-corrected area of a certain surface inside the black hole is what computes the entropy. We said, maybe that’s a way to do the quantum gravity calculation that gives us a unitary result. And I will say: It was kind of a shot in the dark.

    When did you realize that it worked?

    This entire time is a bit of a daze in my mind, it was so exciting; I think I slept maybe two hours a night for weeks. The calculation came together over a period of three weeks, I want to say. I was at Princeton University (US) at the time. We just had a meeting on campus. I have a very distinct memory of driving home, and I was thinking to myself, wow, this could be it.

    The crux of the matter was, there’s more than one quantum extremal surface in the problem. There’s one quantum extremal surface that gives you the wrong answer — the Hawking answer. To correctly calculate the entropy, you have to pick the right one, and the right one is always the one with the smallest quantum-corrected area. And so what was really exciting — I think the moment we realized this might really actually work out — is when we found that exactly at the time when the entropy curve needs to “turn over” [go from increasing to decreasing], there’s a jump. At that time, the quantum extremal surface with the smallest quantum-corrected area goes from being the surface that would give you Hawking’s answer to a new and unexpected one. And that one reproduces the Page curve.

    What are these quantum extremal surfaces, exactly?

    Let me try to intuit a little bit what a classical, non-quantum extremal surface feels like. Let me begin with just a sphere. Imagine that you place a light bulb inside of it, and you follow the light rays as they move outward through the sphere. As the light rays get farther and farther away from the light bulb, the area of the spheres that they pass through will be getting larger and larger. We say that the cross-sectional area of the light rays is getting larger.

    That’s an intuition that works really well in approximately flat space where we live. But when you consider very curved space-time like you find inside a black hole, what can happen is that even though you’re firing your light rays outwards from the light bulb, and you’re looking at spheres that are progressively farther away from the bulb, the cross-sectional area is actually shrinking. And this is because space-time is very violently curved. It’s something that we call focusing of light rays, and it’s a very fundamental concept in gravity and general relativity.

    The extremal surface straddles this line between the very violent situation where the area is decreasing, and a normal situation where the area increases. The area of the surface is neither increasing nor decreasing, and so intuitively you can think of an extremal surface as kind of lying right at the cusp of where you’d expect strong curvature to start kicking in. A quantum extremal surface is the same idea, but instead of area, now you’re looking at quantum-corrected area. This is a sum of area and entropy, which is neither increasing nor decreasing.

    What does the quantum extremal surface mean? What’s the difference between things that are inside versus outside?

    Recall that when the Page curve turns over, we expect that our ignorance of what the black hole contains starts to decrease, as we have access to more and more of its radiation. So the radiation emitted by the hole must start to “learn” about the black hole interior.

    It’s the quantum extremal surface that divides the space-time in two: Everything inside the surface, the radiation can already decode. Everything outside of it is what remains hidden in the black hole system, what’s not contained in the information of the radiation. As the black hole emits more radiation, the quantum extremal surface moves outwards and encompasses an ever-larger volume of the black hole interior. By the time that black hole evaporates altogether, the radiation has to be able to decode everything that way.

    Now that we have an explicit calculation that gives us a unitary answer, that gives us so many tools to start asking questions that we could never ask before, like where does this formula come from, what does it mean about what type of theory quantum gravity is? Also, what is the mechanism in quantum gravity that restores unitarity? It has something to do with the quantum extremal surface formula.

    Most of the justification for the quantum extremal surface formula comes from studying black holes in “Anti-de Sitter” (AdS) space — saddle-shaped space with an outer boundary. Whereas our universe has approximately flat space, and no boundary. Why should we think that these calculations apply to our universe?

    First, we can’t really get around the fact that our universe contains both quantum mechanics and gravity. It contains black holes. So our understanding of the universe is going to be incomplete until we have a description of what happens inside a black hole. The information problem is such a difficult problem to solve that any progress — whether it’s in a toy model or not — is making progress towards understanding phenomena that happen in our universe.

    Now at a more technical level, quantum extremal surfaces can be computed in different kinds of space-times, including flat space like in our universe. And in fact there already have been papers written on the behavior of quantum extremal surfaces within different kinds of space-times and what types of entropy curves they would give rise to.

    We have a very firm interpretation of the quantum extremal surface in AdS space. We can extrapolate and say that in flat space there exists some interpretation of the quantum extremal surface which is analogous, and I think that’s probably true. It has many nice properties; it looks like it’s the right thing. We get really interesting behavior and we expect to get unitarity as well, and so, yes, we do expect that this phenomenon does translate, although the interpretation is going to be harder.

    You said at the beginning of our conversation that we don’t know the solution to the information paradox yet. Can you explain what a solution looks like?

    A full resolution of the information paradox would have to tell us exactly how the black hole information comes out. If I’m an observer that’s sitting outside of a black hole and I have extremely sophisticated technology and all the time in the world — a quantum computer taking incredibly sophisticated measurements, all the radiation of that black hole — what does it take for me to actually decode the radiation to reconstruct, for instance, the star that collapsed and formed the black hole? What process do I need to put my quantum computer through? We need to answer that question.

    So you want to find the reverse algorithm that unscrambles the information in the radiation. What’s the connection between that algorithm and quantum gravity?

    This algorithm that decodes the Hawking radiation is coming from the process in which quantum gravity encodes the radiation as it evaporates at the black hole horizon. The emergence of the black hole interior from quantum gravity and the dynamics of the black hole interior, the experience of an object that falls into the black hole — all of that is encoded in this reverse algorithm that quantum gravity has to spit out. All of those are tied up in the question of “how does the information get encoded in the Hawking radiation?”

    You’ve lately been writing papers about something called “a python’s lunch”. What’s that?

    It’s one thing to ask how can you decode the Hawking radiation; you also might ask, how complex is the task of decoding the Hawking radiation. And, as it turns out, extremely complex. So maybe the difference between Hawking’s calculation and the quantum extremal surface calculation that gives unitarity is that Hawking’s calculation is just dropping the high-complexity operations.

    It’s important to understand the complexity geometrically. And in 2019 there was a paper by some of my colleagues that proposed that whenever you have more than one quantum extremal surface, the one that would be wrong for the entropy can be used to calculate the complexity of decoding the black hole radiation. The two quantum extremal surfaces can be thought of as sort of constrictions in the space-time geometry, and those of us who have read Le Petit Prince see an elephant inside a python, and so it has become known as a python’s lunch.

    We proposed that multiple quantum extremal surfaces are the exclusive source of high complexity. And these two papers that you’re referring to are essentially an argument for this “strong python’s lunch” proposal. That is very insightful for us because it identifies the part of the geometry that Hawking’s calculation knows about and part of the geometry that Hawking’s calculation doesn’t know about. It’s working towards putting his and our calculations in the same language so that we know why one is right, and the other is wrong.

    Where would you say we currently stand in our effort to understand the quantum nature of gravity?

    I like to think of this as a puzzle, where we have all the edge pieces and we’re missing the center. We have many different insights about quantum gravity. There are many ways in which people are trying to understand it. Some by constraining it: What are things that it can’t do? Some by trying to construct aspects of it: things that it must do. My personal preferred approach is more to do with the information paradox, because it’s so pivotal; it’s such an acute problem. It’s clearly telling us: Here’s where you messed up. And to me that says, here’s a place where we can begin to fix our pillars, one of which must be wrong, of our understanding of quantum gravity.

    See the full article here .


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    Formerly known as Simons Science News, Quanta Magazine (US) is an editorially independent online publication launched by the Simons Foundation to enhance public understanding of science. Why Quanta? Albert Einstein called photons “quanta of light.” Our goal is to “illuminate science.” At Quanta Magazine, scientific accuracy is every bit as important as telling a good story. All of our articles are meticulously researched, reported, edited, copy-edited and fact-checked.

  • richardmitnick 8:30 pm on August 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Can light melt atoms into goo?", , , Brookhaven National Laboratory (US) Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, , , , , , , Quantum Mechanics,   

    From Symmetry: “Can light melt atoms into goo?” 

    Symmetry Mag

    From Symmetry

    Sarah Charley

    Courtesy of Christopher Plumberg

    The ATLAS experiment [CH] at European Organization for Nuclear Research [Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organisation für Kernforschung](CH) [CERN]. sees possible evidence of quark-gluon plasma production during collisions between photons and heavy nuclei inside the Large Hadron Collider.

    Photons—the massless particles also known as the quanta of light—are having a moment in physics research.

    Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider have recently studied how, imbued with enough energy, photons can bounce off of one another like massive particles do. Scientists at the LHC and the DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory (US) Relative Heavy Ion Collider (US) have also reported seeing photons colliding and converting that energy into massive particles.

    The photon’s most recent seemingly impossible feat? Smashing so hard into a lead nucleus that the collision seems to produce the same state of matter that existed moments after the Big Bang.

    Simulated quark-gluon plasma formation. Courtesy of Chistopher Plumberg.

    “I did not expect that photons could produce a quark-gluon plasma until I actually saw the results,” says theoretical nuclear physicist Jacquelyn Noronha-Hostler, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois -Urbana-Champaign (US).

    Scientists at the LHC at CERN and at RHIC at DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory (US) have known for years they could produce small amounts of quark-gluon plasma in collisions between heavy ions. But this is the first time scientists have reported possible evidence of quark-gluon plasma in the aftermath of a collision between the nucleus of a heavy ion and a massless particle of light.

    The scenario seems unlikely. Unlikely, but not impossible, says ATLAS physicist Dennis Perepelitsa, who is an assistant professor at The University of Colorado-Boulder (US).

    “In quantum mechanics, everything that is not forbidden is compulsory,” Perepelitsa says. “If it can happen, it will happen. The question is just how often.”

    Collisions between photons and lead nuclei are common inside the LHC. Perepelitsa and his colleagues are the first to examine them to find out whether they ever produce a quark-gluon plasma. Their first round of results indicate the answer could be yes, an insight that might provide a new understanding of fluid dynamics.

    Scientists contributing to LHC research from US institutions are funded by the Department of Energy (US) and the National Science Foundation (US).

    The Large Light Collider

    Perepelitsa and his colleagues on the ATLAS experiment went looking for collisions between photons and nuclei, called photonuclear collisions, in data collected during the lead-ion runs at the LHC. These runs have happened in the few weeks just before the LHC’s winter shutdown each year that the LHC has been in operation.

    Lead nuclei are made up of protons and neutrons, which are made up of even smaller fundamental particles called quarks. “You can think of the nucleus like a bag of quarks,” Noronha-Hostler says.

    This bag of quarks is held together by gluons, which “glue” small groups of quarks into composite particles called hadrons.

    When two lead nuclei collide at high energy inside the LHC, the gluons can lose their grip, causing the protons and neutrons to melt and merge into a quark-gluon plasma. The now-free quarks and gluons pull on each other, holding together as the plasma expands and cools.

    Eventually, the quarks cool enough to reform into distinct hadrons. Scientists can reconstruct the production, size and shape of the original quark-gluon plasma based on the number, identities and paths of hadrons that escape into their detectors.

    During the lead-ion runs at the LHC, nuclei aren’t the only things colliding. Because they have a positive charge, lead nuclei carry strong electromagnetic fields that grow in intensity as they accelerate. Their electromagnetic fields spit out high-energy photons, which can also collide—a fairly common occurence. “There’s a lot of photons, and the nucleus is big,” Perepelitsa says.

    Despite their frequency, no one had ever closely examined the detailed patterns of these kinds of photonuclear collisions at the LHC. For this reason, ATLAS scientists had to develop a specialized trigger that could pick out the photon-zapped lead ions from everything else.

    According to Blair Seidlitz, a graduate student at CU Boulder, this was tricky. “People have a lot more experience triggering on lead-lead collisions,” he says.

    Luckily, photonuclear collisions have a special asymmetrical shape due to the momentum differences between the tiny photon and the massive lead ion: “It’s like a truck hitting a trash can,” Seidlitz says. “All the debris from the collision will move in the direction of the truck.”

    Seidlitz designed a trigger that looked for collisions that generated a small number of particles, had a skewed shape, and saw remnants of the partially obliterated lead ion embedded in special detectors 140 meters away from the collision point.

    After collecting and analyzing the data, Seidlitz, Perepelitsa and their colleagues saw a particle-flow signature characteristic of a quark-gluon plasma.

    The finding alone is not enough to prove the formation of a quark-gluon plasma, but it’s a first clue. “There are always potential competing explanations, and we need to look for other signatures of quark-gluon plasma that could be there,” Perepelitsa says, “but we haven’t measured them yet.”

    If the photonuclear collisions are indeed creating quark-gluon plasma, it could be a kind of quantum trick, Perepelitsa says.

    Perepelitsa and his colleagues are dubious that a massless photon could pack a powerful enough punch to melt part of a lead nucleus, which contains 82 protons and 126 neutrons. “It would be like throwing a needle into a bowling ball,” he says.

    Instead, he thinks that just before impact, these photons are undergoing a transformation originally predicted by Nobel Laureate Paul Dirac.

    A quantum transformation

    In 1931, Dirac published a paper predicting a new type of particle. The particle would share the mass of the electron but have the opposite charge [positron]. Also, he predicted, “if it collides with an electron, the two will have a chance of annihilating one another.”

    It was the positron, the first predicted particle of antimatter. In 1932, The California Institute of Technology (US) physicist Carl Anderson discovered the particle, and later physicists spotted the annihilation process Dirac had predicted as well.

    When matter and antimatter meet, the two particles are destroyed, releasing their energy in the form of a pair of photons.

    Scientists also see this process happening in reverse, Noronha-Hostler says. “Two photons can interact and create a quark-antiquark pair.”

    Before annihilating, that quark-antiquark pair can bind together to make a hadron.

    Perepelitsa and his colleagues suspect that the collisions they’ve observed, in which photons appear to be colliding with lead nuclei and creating a small amount of quark-gluon plasma, are not actually collisions between nuclei and photons. Instead, they’re collisions between nuclei and those tiny, ephemeral hadrons.

    This makes more sense, Perepelitsa says, as hadrons are bigger in size than photons and are capable of more substantial interactions. “It’s no longer a needle going into a bowling ball, but more like a bullet.”

    The smallest drop

    For now, the exact mechanism that may be causing this quark-gluon plasma signature within photonuclear collisions remains a mystery. Whatever is going on, Noronha-Hostler says figuring out these collisions could be an important step in quark-gluon plasma research.

    LHC scientists’ usual method of studying the quark-gluon plasma has been to examine crashes between lead nuclei, which create a complex soup of quarks and gluons. “We thought originally that the only way we could produce a quark gluon plasma was two massive nuclei hitting each other,” she says. “And then experimentalists started playing around and running smaller things, like protons. With photonuclear collisions, that’s even smaller.”

    If photonuclear collisions are creating quark-gluon plasma, it’s in the form of a tiny droplet composed of a few vaporized protons and neutrons.

    Scientists are hoping to study these droplets to learn more about how liquids behave on subatomic scales.

    “We’re pushing to the most extremes in fluid dynamics,” Noronha-Hostler says. “Not only do we have something that is moving at the speed of light and at the highest temperatures known to humanity, but it looks like we are going to be able to answer ‘What is the smallest droplet of a liquid?’ No other field can do that.”

    See the full article here .


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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.

  • richardmitnick 8:10 am on August 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Harvard-led researchers document quantum melting of Wigner crystals", , , Eugene Wigner-how a metal that normally conducts electricity could turn into a nonconducting insulator when the density of electrons is reduced., Exciton spectroscopy, , , Quantum Mechanics, Quantum phase transitions, This is right at the border of matter of changing from partially quantum material to partially classical material., Wigner crystal observed for the first time in 1979.   

    From Harvard Gazette (US) : “Harvard-led researchers document quantum melting of Wigner crystals” 

    From Harvard Gazette (US)


    Harvard University (US)

    June 30, 2021
    Juan Siliezar

    Study marks major step to creating a system to study quantum phase transitions.

    A schematic of a quantum phase transition from an electron liquid to a bilayer Wigner crystal. Each ball represents a single electron. Credit: Ella Maru Studio in collaboration with Hongkun Park and You Zhou.

    In 1934, physicist Eugene Wigner made a theoretical prediction based on quantum mechanics that for decades years went unseen.

    The theory suggested how a metal that normally conducts electricity could turn into a nonconducting insulator when the density of electrons is reduced. Wigner theorized that when electrons in metals are brought to ultracold temperatures, these electrons would be frozen in their tracks and form a rigid, non-electricity conducting structure — a crystal — instead of zipping around at thousands of kilometers per second and creating an electric current. Since he discovered it, the structure was coined a Wigner crystal and was observed for the first time in 1979.

    What’s remained stubbornly elusive to physicists, however, has been the melting of the crystal state into a liquid in response to quantum fluctuations. At least, it was: Now, almost 90 years later, a team of physicists co-led by Hongkun Park and Eugene Demler in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences has finally experimentally documented this transition.

    The work is described in a new study published in the journal Nature and marks a big step toward creating a system for studying these kinds of transitions between states of matter at the quantum level, a long-sought-after goal in the field.

    “This is right at the border of matter of changing from partially quantum material to partially classical material and has many unusual and interesting phenomena and properties,” said Demler, a senior author on the paper. “The crystals themselves have been seen, but this, sort of, pristine transition — when quantum mechanics and classical interactions are competing with each other — has not been seen. It has taken years.”

    Led by Park and Demler, the research team focused on observing Wigner crystals and their phase transitions in the study. In chemistry, physics, and thermodynamics, phase transitions happen when a substance changes from a solid, liquid, or gas to a different state. When quantum fluctuations near absolute zero temperature drive these transitions, they are called quantum-phase transitions. These quantum transitions are thought to play an important role in many quantum systems.

    In the case of a Wigner crystal, the crystal-to-liquid transition rises from a competition between the classical and quantum aspects of the electrons — the former dominating in the solid phase, in which electrons are “particle-like,” and the latter dominating in the liquid, in which electrons are “wave-like.” For a single electron, quantum mechanics tells us that the particle and wave nature are complementary.

    “It is striking that, in a system of many interacting electrons, these different behaviors manifest in distinct phases of matter,” said Park. “For these reasons, the nature of the electron solid-liquid transition has drawn tremendous theoretical and experimental interest.”

    The Harvard scientists report using a novel experimental technique developed by You Zhou, Jiho Sung, and Elise Brutschea — researchers from the Park Research Group and lead authors on the paper — to observe this solid-to-liquid transition in atomically thin semiconductor bilayers. In general, Wigner crystallization requires very low electron density, making its experimental realization a major challenge. By constructing two interacting electron layers from two atomically thin semiconductors, the researchers created a situation in which the crystallization stabilized at higher densities.

    To see the transition, the researchers used a method called exciton spectroscopy. This uses light to excite an electron in the system and bind it to the electron vacancy, or hole, it leaves behind, forming a hydrogen-like electron-hole pair known as an exciton. This pair interacts with the other electrons in the material and modifies the other electrons so they can be seen.

    The findings from the paper were largely accidental and came as a surprise, according to the researchers. The Park group initially set out in a different direction and were puzzled when they noticed the electrons in their material displayed insulating behavior. They consulted with theorists from Demler’s lab and soon realized what they had.

    The researchers plan to use their new method to continue to investigate other quantum phase transitions.

    “We now have an experimental platform where all these [different quantum phase transition] predictions can now be tested,” Demler said.

    See the full article here .


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    Harvard University campus

    Harvard University (US) is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s bestknown landmark.

    Harvard University (US) has 12 degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.

    The Massachusetts colonial legislature, the General Court, authorized Harvard University (US)’s founding. In its early years, Harvard College primarily trained Congregational and Unitarian clergy, although it has never been formally affiliated with any denomination. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century, Harvard University (US) had emerged as the central cultural establishment among the Boston elite. Following the American Civil War, President Charles William Eliot’s long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900. James B. Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II; he liberalized admissions after the war.

    The university is composed of ten academic faculties plus the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Arts and Sciences offers study in a wide range of academic disciplines for undergraduates and for graduates, while the other faculties offer only graduate degrees, mostly professional. Harvard has three main campuses: the 209-acre (85 ha) Cambridge campus centered on Harvard Yard; an adjoining campus immediately across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston; and the medical campus in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. Harvard University (US)’s endowment is valued at $41.9 billion, making it the largest of any academic institution. Endowment income helps enable the undergraduate college to admit students regardless of financial need and provide generous financial aid with no loans The Harvard Library is the world’s largest academic library system, comprising 79 individual libraries holding about 20.4 million items.

    Harvard University (US) has more alumni, faculty, and researchers who have won Nobel Prizes (161) and Fields Medals (18) than any other university in the world and more alumni who have been members of the U.S. Congress, MacArthur Fellows, Rhodes Scholars (375), and Marshall Scholars (255) than any other university in the United States. Its alumni also include eight U.S. presidents and 188 living billionaires, the most of any university. Fourteen Turing Award laureates have been Harvard affiliates. Students and alumni have also won 10 Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, and 108 Olympic medals (46 gold), and they have founded many notable companies.


    Harvard University (US) was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1638, it acquired British North America’s first known printing press. In 1639, it was named Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge(UK) who had left the school £779 and his library of some 400 volumes. The charter creating the Harvard Corporation was granted in 1650.

    A 1643 publication gave the school’s purpose as “to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.” It trained many Puritan ministers in its early years and offered a classic curriculum based on the English university model—many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge—but conformed to the tenets of Puritanism. Harvard University (US) has never affiliated with any particular denomination, though many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Congregational and Unitarian churches.

    Increase Mather served as president from 1681 to 1701. In 1708, John Leverett became the first president who was not also a clergyman, marking a turning of the college away from Puritanism and toward intellectual independence.

    19th century

    In the 19th century, Enlightenment ideas of reason and free will were widespread among Congregational ministers, putting those ministers and their congregations in tension with more traditionalist, Calvinist parties. When Hollis Professor of Divinity David Tappan died in 1803 and President Joseph Willard died a year later, a struggle broke out over their replacements. Henry Ware was elected to the Hollis chair in 1805, and the liberal Samuel Webber was appointed to the presidency two years later, signaling the shift from the dominance of traditional ideas at Harvard to the dominance of liberal, Arminian ideas.

    Charles William Eliot, president 1869–1909, eliminated the favored position of Christianity from the curriculum while opening it to student self-direction. Though Eliot was the crucial figure in the secularization of American higher education, he was motivated not by a desire to secularize education but by Transcendentalist Unitarian convictions influenced by William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    20th century

    In the 20th century, Harvard University (US)’s reputation grew as a burgeoning endowment and prominent professors expanded the university’s scope. Rapid enrollment growth continued as new graduate schools were begun and the undergraduate college expanded. Radcliffe College, established in 1879 as the female counterpart of Harvard College, became one of the most prominent schools for women in the United States. Harvard University (US) became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.

    The student body in the early decades of the century was predominantly “old-stock, high-status Protestants, especially Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians.” A 1923 proposal by President A. Lawrence Lowell that Jews be limited to 15% of undergraduates was rejected, but Lowell did ban blacks from freshman dormitories.

    President James B. Conant reinvigorated creative scholarship to guarantee Harvard University (US)’s preeminence among research institutions. He saw higher education as a vehicle of opportunity for the talented rather than an entitlement for the wealthy, so Conant devised programs to identify, recruit, and support talented youth. In 1943, he asked the faculty to make a definitive statement about what general education ought to be, at the secondary as well as at the college level. The resulting Report, published in 1945, was one of the most influential manifestos in 20th century American education.

    Between 1945 and 1960, admissions were opened up to bring in a more diverse group of students. No longer drawing mostly from select New England prep schools, the undergraduate college became accessible to striving middle class students from public schools; many more Jews and Catholics were admitted, but few blacks, Hispanics, or Asians. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, Harvard became more diverse.

    Harvard University (US)’s graduate schools began admitting women in small numbers in the late 19th century. During World War II, students at Radcliffe College (which since 1879 had been paying Harvard University (US) professors to repeat their lectures for women) began attending Harvard University (US) classes alongside men. Women were first admitted to the medical school in 1945. Since 1971, Harvard University (US) has controlled essentially all aspects of undergraduate admission, instruction, and housing for Radcliffe women. In 1999, Radcliffe was formally merged into Harvard University (US).

    21st century

    Drew Gilpin Faust, previously the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, became Harvard University (US)’s first woman president on July 1, 2007. She was succeeded by Lawrence Bacow on July 1, 2018.

  • richardmitnick 8:52 am on July 31, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Rochester researchers join national initiative to advance quantum science", , , , , Quantum Mechanics, ,   

    From University of Rochester (US): “Rochester researchers join national initiative to advance quantum science” 

    From University of Rochester (US)

    July 30, 2021

    Peter Iglinski

    The US Department of Energy has awarded a major grant to University of Rochester researchers, led by chemistry professor Todd Krauss (above), as part of an initiative to advance quantum science and technology. The researchers will address a principal challenge in quantum science: quantum states of matter are stable only at temperatures far colder than ever recorded on Earth. If stability can be achieved at room temperature, the benefits of quantum applications can be realized on a broader scale. Credit: J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester photo.

    Department of Energy grant recognizes the University’s long history of quantum research.

    Todd Krauss, chair of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Rochester, and his fellow researchers are joining a $73 million initiative, funded by the Department of Energy (US), to advance quantum science and technology. Krauss’s project, “Understanding coherence in light‐matter interfaces for quantum science,” is one of 29 projects intended to help scientists better understand and to harness the “quantum world” in order to eventually benefit people and society.

    “It’s exciting to see the University recognized for its work in the emerging field of quantum information science,” says Krauss.

    The University has a long history in quantum science, dating back to physicist Leonard Mandel—considered a pioneer in quantum optics—in the 1960s. And Krauss says he and his colleagues are now building on the work of Mandel and other giants at Rochester, as well as leveraging the talents of the University’s current crop of quantum researchers.

    Quantum science “the next technological revolution”

    “Quantum science represents the next technological revolution and frontier in the Information Age, and America stands at the forefront,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm as part of the DOE’s announcement of the funding. “At DOE, we’re investing in the fundamental research, led by universities and our National Labs, that will enhance our resiliency in the face of growing cyber threats and climate disasters, paving the path to a cleaner, more secure future.”

    One of the principle challenges in this line of research, explains Krauss, is that quantum states of matter are typically stable only at temperatures below 10 degrees Kelvin; that’s roughly –441 degrees Fahrenheit. By comparison, the coldest recorded temperature on Earth was –128.6 at Russia’s Vostok station in Antarctica in 1983. If stability can be achieved at room temperature, then the benefits of quantum applications can be realized on a broader scale.

    Faster computers, better sensors, more secure systems

    More robust quantum states could yield exponentially faster computers, extremely responsive chemical or biological sensors, as well as more secure communication systems, an area that Krauss’s project is focused on. “In quantum state communications, it will be possible to know when someone else is monitoring your messaging,” says Krauss.

    Krauss is being awarded $1.95 million over three years for his project on light-matter interfaces. Basically, says Krauss, “we’re sticking colloidal nanoparticles into optical cavities in order to interact the nanoparticles with the quantum-light of the cavity.” The work will be divided among four researchers:

    >Krauss will focus on materials synthesis, characterization and spectroscopy.
    >Nick Vamivakas, a professor of quantum optics and quantum physics at the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics, will work on cavity fabrication and quantum optics measurements.
    >Pengfei Huo, assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Rochester, will be the theorist of the group and will provide critical modeling of experiments.
    .Steven Cundiff, professor of physics at the University of Michigan (US), will take state-of-the-art, nonlinear, ultrafast spectroscopic measurements.

    “We are excited to be taking the field of quantum optics in completely new and uncharted directions with our studies of the quantum optics of nanoparticles,” says Krauss.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    U Rochester

    The University of Rochester (US) is a private research university in Rochester, New York. The university grants undergraduate and graduate degrees, including doctoral and professional degrees.

    The University of Rochester (US) enrolls approximately 6,800 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students. Its 158 buildings house over 200 academic majors. According to the National Science Foundation (US), Rochester spent $370 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 68th in the nation. The university is the 7th largest employer in the Finger lakes region of New York.

    The College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering is home to departments and divisions of note. The Institute of Optics was founded in 1929 through a grant from Eastman Kodak and Bausch and Lomb as the first educational program in the US devoted exclusively to optics and awards approximately half of all optics degrees nationwide and is widely regarded as the premier optics program in the nation and among the best in the world. The Departments of Political Science and Economics have made a significant and consistent impact on positivist social science since the 1960s and historically rank in the top 5 in their fields. The Department of Chemistry is noted for its contributions to synthetic organic chemistry, including the first lab based synthesis of morphine. The Rossell Hope Robbins Library serves as the university’s resource for Old and Middle English texts and expertise. The university is also home to Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics, a Department of Energy (US) supported national laboratory.

    The University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music (US) ranks first among undergraduate music schools in the U.S. The Sibley Music Library at Eastman is the largest academic music library in North America and holds the third largest collection in the United States.

    In its history university alumni and faculty have earned 13 Nobel Prizes; 13 Pulitzer Prizes; 45 Grammy Awards; 20 Guggenheim Awards; 5 National Academy of Sciences; 4 National Academy of Engineering; 3 Rhodes Scholarships; 3 National Academy of Inventors; and 1 National Academy of Inventors Hall of Fame.


    Early history

    The University of Rochester traces its origins to The First Baptist Church of Hamilton (New York) which was founded in 1796. The church established the Baptist Education Society of the State of New York later renamed the Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution in 1817. This institution gave birth to both Colgate University(US) and the University of Rochester. Its function was to train clergy in the Baptist tradition. When it aspired to grant higher degrees it created a collegiate division separate from the theological division.

    The collegiate division was granted a charter by the State of New York in 1846 after which its name was changed to Madison University. John Wilder and the Baptist Education Society urged that the new university be moved to Rochester, New York. However, legal action prevented the move. In response, dissenting faculty, students, and trustees defected and departed for Rochester, where they sought a new charter for a new university.

    Madison University was eventually renamed as Colgate University (US).


    Asahel C. Kendrick- professor of Greek- was among the faculty that departed Madison University for Rochester. Kendrick served as acting president while a national search was conducted. He reprised this role until 1853 when Martin Brewer Anderson of the Newton Theological Seminary in Massachusetts was selected to fill the inaugural posting.

    The University of Rochester’s new charter was awarded by the Regents of the State of New York on January 31, 1850. The charter stipulated that the university have $100,000 in endowment within five years upon which the charter would be reaffirmed. An initial gift of $10,000 was pledged by John Wilder which helped catalyze significant gifts from individuals and institutions.

    Classes began that November with approximately 60 students enrolled including 28 transfers from Madison. From 1850 to 1862 the university was housed in the old United States Hotel in downtown Rochester on Buffalo Street near Elizabeth Street- today West Main Street near the I-490 overpass. On a February 1851 visit Ralph Waldo Emerson said of the university:

    “They had bought a hotel, once a railroad terminus depot, for $8,500, turned the dining room into a chapel by putting up a pulpit on one side, made the barroom into a Pythologian Society’s Hall, & the chambers into Recitation rooms, Libraries, & professors’ apartments, all for $700 a year. They had brought an omnibus load of professors down from Madison bag and baggage… called in a painter and sent him up the ladder to paint the title “University of Rochester” on the wall, and they had runners on the road to catch students. And they are confident of graduating a class of ten by the time green peas are ripe.

    For the next 10 years the college expanded its scope and secured its future through an expanding endowment; student body; and faculty. In parallel a gift of 8 acres of farmland from local businessman and Congressman Azariah Boody secured the first campus of the university upon which Anderson Hall was constructed and dedicated in 1862. Over the next sixty years this Prince Street Campus grew by a further 17 acres and was developed to include fraternities houses; dormitories; and academic buildings including Anderson Hall; Sibley Library; Eastman and Carnegie Laboratories the Memorial Art Gallery and Cutler Union.

    Twentieth century


    The first female students were admitted in 1900- the result of an effort led by Susan B. Anthony and Helen Barrett Montgomery. During the 1890s a number of women took classes and labs at the university as “visitors” but were not officially enrolled nor were their records included in the college register. President David Jayne Hill allowed the first woman- Helen E. Wilkinson- to enroll as a normal student although she was not allowed to matriculate or to pursue a degree. Thirty-three women enrolled among the first class in 1900 and Ella S. Wilcoxen was the first to receive a degree in 1901. The first female member of the faculty was Elizabeth Denio who retired as Professor Emeritus in 1917. Male students moved to River Campus upon its completion in 1930 while the female students remained on the Prince Street campus until 1955.


    Major growth occurred under the leadership of Benjamin Rush Rhees over his 1900-1935 tenure. During this period George Eastman became a major donor giving more than $50 million to the university during his life. Under the patronage of Eastman the Eastman School of Music (US) was created in 1921. In 1925 at the behest of the General Education Board and with significant support for John D. Rockefeller George Eastman and Henry A. Strong’s family medical and dental schools were created. The university award its first Ph.D that same year.

    During World War II Rochester was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission. In 1942, the university was invited to join the Association of American Universities(US) as an affiliate member and it was made a full member by 1944. Between 1946 and 1947 in infamous uranium experiments researchers at the university injected uranium-234 and uranium-235 into six people to study how much uranium their kidneys could tolerate before becoming damaged.

    In 1955 the separate colleges for men and women were merged into The College on the River Campus. In 1958 three new schools were created in engineering; business administration and education. The Graduate School of Management was named after William E. Simon- former Secretary of the Treasury in 1986. He committed significant funds to the school because of his belief in the school’s free market philosophy and grounding in economic analysis.

    Financial decline and name change controversy

    Following the princely gifts given throughout his life George Eastman left the entirety of his estate to the university after his death by suicide. The total of these gifts surpassed $100 million before inflation and as such Rochester enjoyed a privileged position amongst the most well endowed universities. During the expansion years between 1936 and 1976 the University of Rochester’s financial position ranked third, near Harvard University’s(US) endowment and the University of Texas (US) System’s Permanent University Fund. Due to a decline in the value of large investments and a lack of portfolio diversity the university’s place dropped to the top 25 by the end of the 1980s. At the same time the preeminence of the city of Rochester’s major employers began to decline.

    In response the University commissioned a study to determine if the name of the institution should be changed to “Eastman University” or “Eastman Rochester University”. The study concluded a name change could be beneficial because the use of a place name in the title led respondents to incorrectly believe it was a public university, and because the name “Rochester” connoted a “cold and distant outpost.” Reports of the latter conclusion led to controversy and criticism in the Rochester community. Ultimately, the name “University of Rochester” was retained.

    Renaissance Plan

    In 1995 university president Thomas H. Jackson announced the launch of a “Renaissance Plan” for The College that reduced enrollment from 4,500 to 3,600 creating a more selective admissions process. The plan also revised the undergraduate curriculum significantly creating the current system with only one required course and only a few distribution requirements known as clusters. Part of this plan called for the end of graduate doctoral studies in chemical engineering; comparative literature; linguistics; and mathematics the last of which was met by national outcry. The plan was largely scrapped and mathematics exists as a graduate course of study to this day.

    Twenty-first century

    Meliora Challenge

    Shortly after taking office university president Joel Seligman commenced the private phase of the “Meliora Challenge”- a $1.2 billion capital campaign- in 2005. The campaign reached its goal in 2015- a year before the campaign was slated to conclude. In 2016, the university announced the Meliora Challenge had exceeded its goal and surpassed $1.36 billion. These funds were allocated to support over 100 new endowed faculty positions and nearly 400 new scholarships.

    The Mangelsdorf Years

    On December 17, 2018 the University of Rochester announced that Sarah C. Mangelsdorf would succeed Richard Feldman as President of the University. Her term started in July 2019 with a formal inauguration following in October during Meliora Weekend. Mangelsdorf is the first woman to serve as President of the University and the first person with a degree in psychology to be appointed to Rochester’s highest office.

    In 2019 students from China mobilized by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) defaced murals in the University’s access tunnels which had expressed support for the 2019 Hong Kong Protests, condemned the oppression of the Uighurs, and advocated for Taiwanese independence. The act was widely seen as a continuation of overseas censorship of Chinese issues. In response a large group of students recreated the original murals. There have also been calls for Chinese government run CSSA to be banned from campus.


    Rochester is a member of the Association of American Universities (US) and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”. Rochester had a research expenditure of $370 million in 2018. In 2008 Rochester ranked 44th nationally in research spending but this ranking has declined gradually to 68 in 2018. Some of the major research centers include the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, a laser-based nuclear fusion facility, and the extensive research facilities at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Recently the university has also engaged in a series of new initiatives to expand its programs in biomedical engineering and optics including the construction of the new $37 million Robert B. Goergen Hall for Biomedical Engineering and Optics on the River Campus. Other new research initiatives include a cancer stem cell program and a Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. UR also has the ninth highest technology revenue among U.S. higher education institutions with $46 million being paid for commercial rights to university technology and research in 2009. Notable patents include Zoloft and Gardasil. WeBWorK, a web-based system for checking homework and providing immediate feedback for students was developed by University of Rochester professors Gage and Pizer. The system is now in use at over 800 universities and colleges as well as several secondary and primary schools. Rochester scientists work in diverse areas. For example, physicists developed a technique for etching metal surfaces such as platinum; titanium; and brass with powerful lasers enabling self-cleaning surfaces that repel water droplets and will not rust if tilted at a 4 degree angle; and medical researchers are exploring how brains rid themselves of toxic waste during sleep.

  • richardmitnick 10:00 am on July 26, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "On eternal imbalance", , Probability distributions, Quantum Mechanics, Some physical systems-especially in the quantum world-do not reach a stable equilibrium even after a long time. An ETH researcher has now found an elegant explanation for this phenomenon., , Systems in which long-​range interactions occur do not reach a stable equilibrium but rather a meta-​stable state in which they always return to their initial position., The number of stable energy states coincides with the number of degrees of freedom of the system and thus corresponds exactly to the number of allowed locations., We are talking about systems in which the individual building blocks influence not only their immediate neighbours but also objects further away.   

    From Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH): “On eternal imbalance” 

    From Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    Maria Engel

    Some physical systems-especially in the quantum world-do not reach a stable equilibrium even after a long time. An ETH researcher has now found an elegant explanation for this phenomenon.

    Not only quantum systems, but also large objects such as the spiral galaxy NGC 1300 can adopt a meta-​stable state that leads to surprising effects. (Picture: Hubble Heritage Team, European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU), National Aeronautics Space Agency (US).)

    If you put a bottle of beer in a big bathtub full of ice-​cold water, it won’t be long before you can enjoy a cold beer. Physicists discovered how this works more than a hundred years ago. Heat exchange takes place through the glass bottle until equilibrium is reached.

    However, there are other systems, especially quantum systems, that don’t find equilibrium. They resemble a hypothetical beer bottle in a bath of ice-​cold water that doesn’t always and inevitably cool to the temperature of the bath water, but rather reaches different states depending on its own initial temperature. Until now, such systems have puzzled physicists. But Nicolò Defenu, a postdoc at the ETH Zürich Institute for Theoretical Physics, has now found a way to elegantly explain this behaviour.

    A more distant influence

    Specifically, we are talking about systems in which the individual building blocks influence not only their immediate neighbours but also objects further away. One example would be a galaxy: the gravitational force of their individual stars and planetary systems acts not only on the neighbouring celestial bodies, but far beyond that – albeit ever more weakly – on the other components of the galaxy.

    Defenu’s approach begins by simplifying the problem to a world with a single dimension. In it, there is a single quantum particle that can reside only in very specific locations along a line. This world resembles a board game like Ludo, where a little token hops from square to square. Suppose there is a game die whose sides are all marked “one” or “minus one”, and suppose the player whose token it is now rolls the die over and over again in succession. The token will hop to a neighbouring square, and from there it will either hop back or else on to the next square. And so on.

    The question is, What happens if the player rolls the die an infinite number of times? If there are only a few squares in the game, the token will return to its starting point every now and then. However, it is impossible to predict exactly where it will be at any given time because the throws of the die are unknown.

    Back to square one

    It’s a similar situation with particles that are subject to the laws of quantum mechanics: there’s no way to know exactly where they are at any given time. However, it is possible to establish their whereabouts using probability distributions. Each distribution results from a different superposition of the probabilities for the individual locations and corresponds to a particular energy state of the particle. It turns out that the number of stable energy states coincides with the number of degrees of freedom of the system and thus corresponds exactly to the number of allowed locations. The important point is that all the stable probability distributions are non-​zero at the starting point. So at some point, the token returns to its starting square.

    The more squares there are, the less often the token will return to its starting point; eventually, with an infinite number of possible squares, it will never return. For the quantum particle, this means there are an infinite number of ways in which the probabilities of the individual locations can be combined to form distributions. Thus, it can no longer occupy only certain discrete energy states, but all possible ones in a continuous spectrum.

    None of this is new knowledge. There are, however, variants of the game or physical systems where the die can also contain numbers larger than one and smaller than minus one, i.e. the steps allowed per move can be larger – to be precise, even infinitely large. This fundamentally changes the situation, as Defenu has now been able to show: in these systems, the energy spectrum always remains discrete, even when there are infinite squares. This means that from time to time, the particle will return to its starting point.

    Peculiar phenomena

    This new theory explains what scientists have already observed many times in experiments: systems in which long-​range interactions occur do not reach a stable equilibrium but rather a meta-​stable state in which they always return to their initial position. In the case of galaxies, this is one reason they develop spiral arms rather than being uniform clouds. The density of stars is higher inside these arms than outside.

    An example of quantum systems that can be described with Defenu’s theory are ions, which are charged atoms trapped in electric fields. Using such ion traps to build quantum computers is currently one of the largest research projects worldwide. However, for these computers to really deliver a step change in terms of computational power, they will need a very large number of simultaneously trapped ions – and that is exactly the point at which the new theory becomes interesting. “In systems with a hundred or more ions, you would see peculiar effects that we can now explain,” says Defenu, who is a member of ETH Professor Gian Michele Graf’s group. His colleagues in experimental physics are getting closer every day to the goal of being able to realise such formations. And once they’ve got there, it might be worth their while to have a cold beer with Defenu.

    Science paper:

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus
    Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische Schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische Schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas the University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form the Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US), Stanford University(US) and University of Cambridge(UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US), Stanford University(US), California Institute of Technology(US), Princeton University(US), University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK) .

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE ExcellenceRanking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London(UK) and the University of Cambridge(UK), respectively.

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