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PUBLIC LECTURE

VICE-CHANCELLOR'S DISTINGUISHED LECTURE SERIES

The Vice-Chancellor & Principal,
Professor Gavin Brown FAA,
invites you to hear


PROFESSOR SIR ANTHONY LEGGETT

Nobel Laureate in Physics, 2003

 

DOES THE EVERYDAY WORLD REALLY
OBEY QUANTUM MECHANICS?


Monday 25 July 2005
6.00pm for 6.15pm
The MacLaurin Hall
University of Sydney

Refreshments will be available after the lecture


Admission to the lecture is free, but advance booking is required

RSVP to Rebecca Stroud by Thursday 21 July 2005

Email: r.stroud@vcc.usyd.edu.au
Phone: +61 2 9036 9644
Fax: +61 2 9351 6868


 
PROFESSOR SIR ANTHONY LEGGETT

Professor Sir Anthony Leggett is John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is widely recognized as a world leader in the theory of low-temperature physics, and he shared the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics for his pioneering work on superfluidity. He has shaped the theoretical understanding of normal and superfluid helium liquids and other strongly coupled superfluids; and has set directions for research in the quantum physics of macroscopic systems, and the use of condensed systems to test the foundations of quantum mechanics.

Professor Leggett was born in Camberwell, South London. He studied at Oxford, reading Classics and Philosophy for his first BA, before completing a second BA and then a doctorate in Physics. He held research fellowships at Oxford and Illinois, and taught at the University of Sussex, before taking up his current MacArthur Chair in 1983.

Among many honours and distinctions, Professor Leggett is a Fellow of the Royal Society and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Physics in the UK; a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in the US; and a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.  He is a recipient of the Maxwell Medal (1975), the Paul Dirac Medal (1992) and the Wolf Prize (2003), and was awarded a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2004, for services to physics.

Professor Leggett will be discussing the issue of the application of quantum mechanics to everyday phenomena. In his words: "Quantum mechanics has been enormously successful in describing nature at the atomic level, and most physicists believe that it is in principle the 'whole truth' about the world, even at the everyday level. But such a view leads to a severe problem: in certain circumstances, the most natural interpretation of the theory implies that no definite outcome of an experiment occurs until the act of 'observation'."

Professor Leggett will explain how, for many decades, this problem was regarded as 'merely philosophical' by many physicists, having no testable consequences. In recent years, however, the situation has changed very dramatically. Professor Leggett will discuss the problem; some popular attempts to resolve it; the current experimental situation; and prospects for the future.

Professor Leggett is visiting Sydney as guest of the Centre for Time, in the Department of Philosophy, School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, University of Sydney.

 

This event is proudly supported by:

Office of the Vice-Chancellor & Principal
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry
Research Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences
Office of University Relations