Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Great talk today

Alain Aspect gave the departmental colloquium today, and his talk was fantastic. He let the audience choose whether to hear about his more recent work on the Hanbury Brown-Twiss experiment with cold atoms, or his very famous work on Bell's Inequalities. By show of hands the packed audience picked the latter, and Aspect gave an extremely clear talk about why local hidden variable theories like the kind desired by Einstein just aren't compatible with quantum mechanics. I know that the talk has been fine-tuned and updated over the years, so the fact that it's polished shouldn't be surprising. Still, it was an impressively well structured colloquium: a good, generally accessible set-up and statement of the problem, a discussion of the experiment and what it means, and conclusions updated to include modern experiments about entanglement and quantum cryptography.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

That sneaky Randy Hulet chose it; the show of hands was rather even.

hermanweyl said...

Yes, it was a well-crafted talk for a general audience yet he failed to answer my question in the end so the take home lesson from this talk was that you should not emphasize things you are not an expert in. The last thing you want to say as an answer to a question is "I have to read more about it"...

lobachevsky said...

I attended his second talk today and I have to confess he was much more impressive and confident. People should always talk about their specialties otherwise everybody is better off without a talk...

Incoherent Ponderer said...

I disagree with herman to some degree. Yes, it is nice to hear a talk where every question has a clear answer, but by then you might as well read the paper. Lately I find I enjoy half-baked talks about preliminary results, or, better yet, people talking about ideas for the future, without perhaps having thought through all the details, just as much if not more than regular "here's the talk about the work we published 3 years ago".

hermanweyl said...

He was talking about the work he did 25 years ago. FYI...

HMS Home Warranty said...

It is nice to hear a talk where every question has a clear answer, but by then you might as well read the paper.