Nobel-winning physicist to speak at NU

David Wineland, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics, will discuss "Quantum computers and Schrödinger’s cat" at a presentation at Northwestern University on Friday, April 22.

Wineland, of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado, says that as the size of computer logic gates and memory elements approaches the atomic scale, researchers are forced to deal with the constraints imposed by the laws of quantum mechanics.

But, he says, a computer based on quantum mechanics could solve certain problems that are intractable on conventional computers.

If such a device could be made on a large scale it would have the same characteristics as Erwin Schrödinger’s famous 1935 hypothetical cat that could be both dead and alive at the same time.

Wineland says that in his talk, "I will briefly relate how our group at NIST became involved in these topics through our experiments on atomic ions, but these experiments only serve as examples of similar work being performed in many other laboratories around the world."

Wineland will speak at 4 p.m. April 22 in the Ryan Auditorium at the Technological Institute, 2145 Sheridan Road. The event is open to the public.

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