Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Workshop / Seminar

Physics and Astronomy Colloquium – Dr. David Wineland

Todd Hall
Todd Addition, Room 276
View location in Google Maps
Zoom Link Here

About the event

The Department of Physics and Astronomy invites you to a colloquium featuring David Wineland, Nobel Laureate and Distinguished Research Chair and Research Professor, University of Oregon. Dr. Wineland’s talk, “Quantum Computers and Raising Schrodinger’s Cat” will be held Thursday, April 11, at 12:10 pm in Todd Hall Addition, Rm 276.

Please meet our guest at 11:45 outside the room and enjoy refreshments.

 Zoom available for those unable to attend in person.

Quantum systems such as atoms can be used to store information. For example, we can store a binary bit of information in two energy levels of an atom, labeling the state with lower energy a “0″ and the state with higher energy a “1.” However, quantum systems can also exist in “superposition states”, thereby storing both states of the bit simultaneously, a situation that makes no sense in our ordinary-day experience. This property of quantum bits or “qubits” potentially leads to an exponential increase in memory and processing capacity. It would enable a quantum computer to efficiently solve certain problems such as factorizing large numbers, a capability that could compromise the security of current encryption systems. It could also be used to simulate the action of other important quantum systems in cases where such a simulation would be intractable on a conventional computer. A quantum computer would also realize an analog of “Schrödinger’s Cat,” a bizarre situation where a cat could be simultaneously dead and alive. Experiments whose goal is to realize a quantum computer based on laser manipulations of atomic ions will be described but this is just one platform that many groups around the world are investigating.


Jann Dahmen-Morbeck
(509) 335-1698