State of the Union in Astrophysics and Quantum Physics

State of the Union in Astrophysics and Quantum Physics

Event Name State of the Union in Astrophysics and Quantum Physics
Start Date 16 Oct 2018 1:00 pm
End Date 16 Oct 2018 2:00 pm
Duration 1 hour

When: Tuesday 16 October 2018

Time: 1:00pm   Where: 14 SCO T5

Title: State of the Union in Astrophysics and Quantum Physics.

Prof. Mark Wardle

Astronomy is restricted to passively observing the Universe from our own small region of spacetime. Amazingly, this has been sufficient to develop a broad understanding of the history of the Universe, our Galaxy, and the solar system.   This is a story of evolution from a smooth sea of particles and radiation to the lumpy structures - planets, stars, galaxies, and clusters of galaxies that are present today.  

Many critical questions remain unanswered, for example: How do small galaxies merge to build the large galaxies of the present-day?  What determines the mass distribution of stellar populations?  What controls the extraordinary variety of planetary systems?    I’ll give a thumbnail sketch of what we do and don’t know, and then describe how the discipline is addressing some of the most important outstanding questions.

Assoc. Prof. Gavin Brennen

Quantum mechanics is akin to a game of chess, there are a few elementary pieces that move according to simple rules but the game quickly becomes complex. I'll review some of the key advances in physics coming the 2nd Quantum Revolution which marks ideas and technologies like sensors and computers that make essential use of many particle superposition, entanglement, and measurement.

I'll also touch on some of the big outstanding questions in the field such as: What marks the transition from quantum to classical physics? What are the limits on quantum computation and like using temperature and pressure, can we organise our understanding of matter in terms of quantum processing power?   

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