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Physics Interest Group

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Meeting time: Fridays 10:30 am–12:00 pm
Meeting place: 127 Shepherd

The physics interest group (PIG) reads and discusses works of mutual interest in the history and philosophy of physics. We select readings for a variety of reasons: to keep up on the most exciting developments in the field, to help participants scrutinize literature relevant to their research projects (faculty or graduate student research), to provide feedback on works in progress being written by participants (graduate students, faculty, and Center visitors), to revisit classic articles in the literature, and sometimes just to have fun discussing a topic related to physics. For more information please contact Jos Uffink, Michel Janssen or Sam Fletcher. If you wold like to be added to the PIG email list please send a request to mcps@umn.edu.

Fall 2016

September 16:
"Welcome to Bananaworld." Michel Janssen will introduce Jeffrey Bub's, Bananaworld. Quantum Mechanics for Primates (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). The presentation will be accessible to a broad audience. Yet, although this will not be necessary to follow the presentation, participants may want to start reading the book ahead of time, as several PIG meetings this semester will be devoted to it. A good way to get started in Bananaworld is to read the following passages:

Front matter (foreword by Popescu, preface, TOC)
Ch. 1, secs. 1.1–1.3, pp. 1–14 (SKIP the rest of Ch. 1, which is about special relativity)
SKIP Ch. 2 (the presentation in the PIG session will cover the key notion of an entangled two-particle state)
Ch. 3, secs. 3.1–3.3, pp. 43–71 (not exactly easy going) & sec. 3.5.3 (pp. 78–83) on Boolean algebras (which is something we'll get back to later)
Ch. 4, sec. 4.1, pp. 87–91 (the presentation in the PIG session will cover the key notion of a correlation array).
Combined readings in one pdf.

Slides from Michel's presentation.

September 30: Our alternative possibility for Friday's PIG session did not work out, so we will be continuing our discussion of Bananaworld, as originally planned.
We are hoping to get James Fleming, our colloquium speaker this week,, but the arrangements are not yet confirmed--we got a late start.  If it doesn't work out, we will proceed as announced on with the readings below.  We'll send out a more definite announcement as soon as possible.

Jeffrey Bub, Bananaworld. Quantum Mechanics for Primates (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), sections 4.2-4.3, 5, and 6.1-6.3.
Background reading:
N. David Mermin, "From Cbits to Qbits: Teaching computer scientists quantum mechanics." American Journal of Physics 71 (2003): 23–30 (Mermin 2003c.pdf)
N. David Mermin, "Copenhagen computation." Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 34 (2003): 511–522 (Mermin 2003b.pdf)
Christopher A. Fuchs, N. David Mermin, and Rüdiger Schack, "An introduction to QBism with an application to the locality of quantum mechanics." American Journal of Physics 82 (2014): 749–754 (Mermin et al 2014.pdf)

October 14:

October 28:

November 18:

December 9:

Previous PIG discussion topics

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