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AMO/QO Physics Lunch Seminar

"Determinism, Einstein, and Quantum Mechanics – Historical Perspectives"

Dr. Edward S. Fry
Texas A&M University


Einstein believed that quantum mechanics was an incomplete theory. In that context, he is famously quoted from a letter he wrote to Max Born in 1944: "You believe in God playing dice and I in perfect laws in the world of things existing as real objects . . ." The interpretation of quantum mechanics will be discussed, and the decades long history of this contentious problem will be reviewed, including the long ignored contribution of Grete Hermann. A breakthrough analysis by John Bell in 1964 made it possible to experimentally test these heretofore philosophical arguments. Results of the initial experimental tests of the Bell inequalities in the 1970's will be described and their evolution to the most recent experiments that close the detection efficiency and locality loopholes will be discussed. Finally, the possibility of an experimental realization of Bohm's classic version of Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen's famous Gedanken experiment will be described. Specifically, the experiment involves measurement of angular momentum correlations between two spin one-half fermions (the nuclei of mercury 199 atoms). The latter are produced by a resonant Raman dissociation of a mercury dimer that is in an electronic and nuclear spin singlet state; the latter is guaranteed if the initial state has an even rotational quantum number (we start with dimers in a J=10 state). The mercury dimers are produced in a free jet expansion and the transitions from the various rotational states are fully resolved. Determination of the angular momentum components of the resulting two mercury atoms is accomplished simultaneously with their detection via a polarization selective excitation and ionization scheme.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016
IQSE 578, 12:30 Noon
Mitchell Physics Building

Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering
Texas A&M University

(Sandwiches, salad, and soda to be served at 12:00 Noon)