[SydPhil] Public Lecture: Christopher Fuchs, 25 March 2015, 6:30-7:30pm

Eric Cavalcanti e.cavalcanti at physics.usyd.edu.au
Wed Mar 11 17:36:25 AEDT 2015

Please advertise the following public lecture with any contacts who might
be interested:


What implications do our best physical theories have for the ways we view
the world and ourselves?

The Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science
<http://sydney.edu.au/foundations_of_science/about/index.shtml> and Committee
for Human Aspects of Science and Technology
<http://sydney.edu.au/science/CHAST/> invite you to this free public
lecture where Professor Christopher Fuchs presents an unique perspective on
the "message of the quantum".

*A World on The Make: From Modern Quantum Mysteries to Early American
Professor Christopher A. Fuchs

*25 March 2015, 6:30-7:30pm*
Eastern Ave Lecture Theatre F19
Click here for map

Quantum theory is the great foundation for nearly all of modern physics.
Since its discovery in 1925, it has never met a single experimental
failure, and without it we could kiss our technological society goodbye.
Without quantum theory, there would be no transistors, no lasers, no GPS
satellites, no smart phones--we might as well be living in 1910. But this
foundation, for all it is worth, sits itself on some pretty shifty
metaphysical sands. Some physicists look into quantum theory and see
evidence that the universe is a vast web of instantaneous connections,
making a laughingstock of the idea that any two events in the universe are
really independent. Some physicists look into quantum theory and see not
one universe, but a continuum of parallel worlds, each disconnected from
the others except for having the same physical laws. Still other
physicists--a tiny minority--look into quantum theory and see overwhelming
evidence that the theory's key terms have not so much to do with nature
itself, but with *our place in* nature. Metaphorically, the physicist is
like a tiny paramecium caught up in nature's stream, and quantum theory is
his best tool yet for navigating the course. This is the foundational
stance of QBism. (Q is for quantum, of course, but what of the B? For that
you will have to come to the lecture.) In QBism, the singular role of
quantum theory is to make better decisions and better gambles as we
confront nature. But this is not to say that we might not learn a lot about
nature itself by studying the tool's design. To a great surprise, that
study *does* take us back to 1910, but now in a good way, to a
nearly-forgotten philosophy called "American pragmatism". Crucial to
pragmatism is the idea that our world is always on the make; the big bang
is not just something remote and at the beginning of time, but something
intimate and all around us. The philosopher William James once asked, "How
can new being come in local spots and patches which add themselves or stay
away at random, independently of the rest?" That this is so is QBism's
vision of the world and the subject of this lecture.

*Christopher A. Fuchs* is currently Professor of Physics at the University
of Massachusetts Boston. Previously, he held research positions at BBN
Technologies in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Perimeter Institute for
Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada, and Bell Laboratories in Murray
Hill, New Jersey. From 1996-1999 he was the Lee DuBridge Prize Postdoctoral
Fellow at the California Institute of Technology. He has authored over 85
scientific papers, with more than 9,000 citations on Google Scholar. One of
his co-authored papers "Unconditional Quantum Teleportation" was voted a
top-ten "breakthrough of the year 1998'' by the editors of *Science*. In
2010 he was a winner of the International Quantum Communication Award, and
in 2012 he was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society. On top of
physics, Dr. Fuchs's humanistic interests come through in his Cambridge
University Press book *Coming of Age with Quantum Information: Notes on a
Paulian Idea*. In a recent posting, he described himself as "for the last
25 years having lived and breathed the question of what quantum theory is
trying to tell us about the world." He calls his current understanding of
this QBism.

Free and open to all with online registration requested. Please click here
to register
Eric G. Cavalcanti

School of Physics | Faculty of Science
*T* +61 2 9351 3982  | *F* +61 2 9351 7726
*E* e.cavalcanti at physics.usyd.edu.au
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