Archive for September, 2011

Formally, he is known as Sir Anthony Leggett — winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics for his important contributions to low-temperature physics and superfluidity.

But for the past five years, most folks here at the Institute for Quantum Computing have gotten to know him simply as Tony.

Tony carries himself with a quiet, understated demeanour that belies his status as a winner of the world’s most prestigious scientific honour.

Tony has spent the past five summers at IQC as the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Distinguished Research Chair — delivering lectures, mentoring students and pursuing his research —  and we’re delighted that he recently signed on for another five summers at IQC.

Tony’s summer lectures always cover a broad variety of topics, from the fundamental riddles of quantum science to specialized applications of quantum technologies. We recorded his lecture series this summer, and the videos are now posted for all to watch.  A word of warning: these are not for quantum-rookies — they pretty much require at least an undergraduate grounding in quantum mechanics.

If you’re just getting acquainted with quantum science, you might want to start with the short clip below, in which Tony provides a unique take on the vexing “Many Worlds” hypothesis of quantum mechanics (during which, incidentally, he seems to assert that Schrödinger’s cat is female).

To delve deeper into the subject matter, check out the full playlist of Tony’s lecture videos.


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Women in Physics

More than 50 female physicists from around world spent three days in Waterloo this past July examining some of the deepest questions in physics — including the difficult question of why there are relatively so few women in the field. The Women in Physics Canada conference, co-hosted by the Institute for Quantum Computing and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, featured scientific workshops and lectures, as well as panel discussions about the disparity between women and men in physics.

According to a study released in 2010 by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)  The odds of a female first-grader in 1985 growing up to earn a PhD in physics are 1 in 286. The odds of a boy in the same Grade 1 class eventually earning a physics PhD are markedly better — about 1 in 167, according to the study. The Women in Physics conference was created in part to explain and remedy this discrepancy.

“Events such as this one create a network of peers for young women, and allow them to learn from more senior women the challenges of the job — both scientific, and those challenges that apply more specifically to women,” said Sarah Croke, a co-organizer of the conference. “These are important components in building a successful and, more importantly, fulfilling career in physics.”

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