2015 Spring Graduate Colloquium Series: Brandon Mattingly/Eva Kostadinova

DateMarch 27, 2015
Time4:00 - 5:00 pm
LocationBaylor Sciences Building, Room E.125
Brandon Mattingly

Testing Quantum Bending of the Suns Light

Since the 1920s, Physics has been dominated by two main theories in Quantum Mechanics (QM) and General Relativity (GR). While each individual theory has made successful and accurate predictions for their appropriate energy domains, QM being applied to atomic and sub-atomic length scales while GR being applied to solar and galactic length scales, a single theory that simplifies to QM and GR in their appropriate scales has been unattainable. Finding such a theory is ongoing area of interest in Physics. In this talk, the basic tenants behind GR and QM will be covered. We will discuss why GR and QM are incompatible, but some predictions based off a union of the two theories can be explored. And finally, an experiment that applies QM to GR to
calculate the deviance of light rays around the Sun caused by QM from the predictions made by GR will be presented.

This talk will reference the paper, Bending of Light in Quantum Gravity, PRL 114, 061301 (2015).

Eva Kostadinova

The Bipolar Particle vs. the Pilot Particle

Most scientists do not believe in ghosts. Yet again, for more than a century the dominant interpretation of quantum mechanics promotes the idea that quantum objects, the building blocks of all matter, spend the majority of time in a ghost-like state that sometimes presents itself as a wave and other times materializes as a particle. This interpretation is called the wave-particle duality of matter. However, in the early days of
quantum mechanics an alternative explanation was proposed: the so called pilot wave theory, according to which moving particles are borne along on waves of some type, like driftwood on a tide, which explains their observed wave properties. I will present the results of two equally revolutionary and fascinating recent
experiments. The first one, performed by a team in Switzerland, used the interaction between a standing wave in a nanowire and a beam of electrons to capture the first ever photograph of light behaving both like a particle and a wave at the same time, therefore providing crucial evidence in favor of wave-particle duality.
The second experiment, carried on by scientists in Massachusetts, created a dynamic system in which a drop of fluid bounces across a vibrating fluid bath, propelled by waves produced by its own collisions. The system exhibits both wave and particle properties, thus giving strong support for the pilot wave theory. This talk aims
to compare these two different approaches and challenge our understanding of what matter really is.

For more information, please contact: Dr. Ken Park

PublisherDepartment of Physics
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