(Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week.)
ANYway, I'm newly home from attending the Schrödinger Sessions, an intensive two-and-a-half-day program on quantum mechanics and its applications/implications aimed specifically at SF authors. For the 2016 version of the program, about twenty authors participated.
|Probability distributions of an electron in an atom|
|Trapped ions: prospective quantum bits (qubits)|
I have a physics and computer-science background, and before turning to full-time writing I worked in CS and engineering for thirty years -- and there was still plenty to absorb. QM is a hot field in which phenomenal progress has been (and continues to be) made. Among my favorite topics at the sessions was quantum computing -- something which, back in my university days, neither the physics nor the computer-science curriculum envisioned. Other sessions delved into:
- atomic clocks,
- superconductors and superfluids,
- the nature of the quantum vacuum,
- counter-intuitive features of quantum physics (that's pretty much all of them) (*),
- competing interpretations of what the mathematical formalism of QM means physically, and
- much, much more.
And lest any of the participants leave the U Md (College Park) campus without their brain having exploded, we also covered -- bonus material -- some cosmological speculations and the recent first detection of gravitational waves.
Some days I just love my job :-)