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Quantum Physics in the Macro World

Free IOP talk by Professor Vlatko Vedral

Quantum mechanics is commonly said to be a theory of microscopic things: molecules, atoms, subatomic particles. Most physicists, though, think it applies to everything, no matter what the size. The reason its distinctive features tend to be hidden is not a simple matter of scale. Over the past few years experimentalists have seen quantum effects in a growing number of macroscopic systems.

The quintessential quantum effect, entanglement, can even occur in large systems as well as warm ones - including living organisms - even though molecular jiggling might be expected to disrupt entanglement. Different methods for quantifying the quantum and classical parts of correlations are amongst the most actively-studied topics of quantum physics over the past decade. Entanglement is the most prominent of these correlations, but in many cases disentangled states exhibit non-classical behaviour too. Thus, distinguishing quantum correlations other than entanglement provides a better discriminator between the quantum and classical worlds.

Professor Vedral will first review different notions of classical and quantum correlations. Distinguishing classical from quantum behaviour at the macroscopic scale also requires a good measure of `quantum macroscopicity’. In this context he will introduce the Schrödinger cat states and will illustrate the related quantum concepts using a number of state-of-the-art experiments aiming at creating larger and larger quantum superpositions. The talk will close with a discussion about an experiment with organic molecules conducted in Professor Vedral’s group and aimed at probing quantumness at the macroscopic level.

*Free tea, coffee and biscuits from 6:30pm

**Multi-storey car park at the University of Leeds is open to the general public after 5pm. Up to two hours costs £2

Organised By
IOP Yorkshire Branch
11 Dec 2019 19:00 to 20:30
University of Leeds
Rupert Beckett Lecture Theatre
Wesy Yorkshire
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