French Nobel Laureate Serge Haroche at UBC
Serge Haroche (Collège de France, Paris) gave two public lectures on quantum physics. His visit is part of the partnership between the Peter Wall Institute for Adavanced Studies and the Collège de France.
The founders of quantum physics used to analyse “thought experiments”, to discuss state superposition, complementarity and entanglement. They imagined manipulating single particles, such as electrons, atoms or photons; they would be surprised to see that experiments with isolated atoms, molecules or photons are now carried on in many laboratories throughout the world.
In our Cavity Quantum Electrodynamics (CQED) studies, we stabilize and count photon number states in the cavity. We also prepare and reconstruct photonic superposition states suspended between different ‘classical realities’, generating a laboratory version of Schrödinger famous ‘Cat’, which he had imagined to be simultaneously dead and alive.
We have also investigated the decoherence process, which explains the transition between the quantum and the classical worlds. CQED physics has recently been extended to artificial ‘atoms’ made from superconductors, in a new domain of mesoscopic physics called "Circuit QED". This development opens the way to applications in quantum information science.
Where: Hebb Theatre 2045 East Mall, University of British Columbia
Mankind has always been fascinated by fundamental questions about the Universe and our place in it. This has led to the development of curiosity-driven research, whose
successes are among the jewels of our civilized world. There is indeed an aesthetic truth in a scientific theory, comparable to the gratuitous beauty of a piece of art. In addition, basic science is essential to the development of new technologies. I will show that the knowledge accumulatedby the fundamental approach to science has led, often in unpredictable ways, to practical applications which have revolutionized our daily lives. I will also reflect on the dangers blue sky research faces in our uncertain global world and explain why it is essential to protect it and to make it thrive, in spite of the present economic difficulties.
Where: Buchanan room A201 1866 Main Mall, University of British Columbia
Serge Haroche was born in 1944 in Casablanca. He graduated from École normale supérieure (ENS), receiving his doctorate from Paris VI University in 1971 (thesis advisor: Claude Cohen-Tannoudji). After a post-doctoral visit to Stanford University in the laboratory of Arthur Schawlow (1972-73), he became full professor at Paris VI University in 1975, a position he held until 2001, when he was appointed Professor at Collège de France (Holder of the chair in quantum physics and Director since 2012).
He has been Maître de Conference at École Polytechique (1974-1984), visiting professor at Harvard (1981), part time professor at Yale University (1984-1993), member of Institut Universitaire de France (1991-2000) and chairman of the ENS Department of Physics (1994-2000). His research has mostly taken place in laboratoire Kastler Brossel at ENS, where he now works with a team of senior coworkers, postdocs and graduate students.
Serge Haroche has received many prizes and awards, including the Grand Prix Jean Ricard of the French Physical Society (1983), the Einstein Prize for Laser science (1988), the Humboltd Award (1992), the Michelson Medal from the Franklin Institute (1993), the Tomassoni Award from La Sapienza University (Rome, 2001), the Quantum Electronics prize of the European Physical Society (2002), the Quantum Communication Award of the International Organization for Quantum Communication, Measurement and Computing (2002), the Townes Award of the Optical Society of America, the CNRS Gold Medal (2009) and the Herbert Walter Prize of the German Physical Society and the Optical Society of America.
He is a member of the French Academy of Sciences and a Foreign Member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States. He has received in 2009 a five year advanced research grant from the European Research Council (ERC).