LIVE WEBINAR: The Riddle of the Quantum Sphinx, Robert Spekkens is proud to partner with Perimeter Institute for public lecture on why quantum mysteries are a result of fairly simple mistakes concerning the nature of quantum states. Join quantum foundations specialist Robert Spekkens on Wed., Feb. 7 at 4PM PT (7PM ET) for this exciting event.

Science is like puzzle-solving. Making sense of quantum theory is a particularly thorny kind of brain-twister, with more than its fair share of mysteries. If you are stuck on a puzzle, it may be because you have made a false assumption about the nature of some entity that is absolutely central to the whole business. If so, you have made a category mistake: you are not just wrong about what this entity is, but about what sort of thing it is.

In his Feb. 7 Public Lecture at Perimeter Institute, Robert Spekkens will explain why he believes that many quantum mysteries are a result of a category mistake concerning the nature of quantum states. Along the way, he will address some idiosyncratic questions, such as: What did Plato have to say about Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle? What do poorly implemented clinical drug trials have to do with “spooky action at a distance”? And, most importantly, what did the successful deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphs teach us about the interpretation of quantum theory?

Spekkens is a faculty member at Perimeter Institute whose research examines the foundations of quantum theory. He co-edited the book Quantum Theory: Informational Foundations and Foils, and he is a Project Leader of the international research collaboration “Quantum Causal Structures.” In 2012, he won first prize in the Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi) essay contest “Questioning the Foundations: Which of Our Assumptions Are Wrong?” He lives in Waterloo with his wife and three-year-old son.

Robert Spekkens graciously accepted the invitation to deliver the Feb. 7 after the originally scheduled speaker, Rob Moore, had to postpone due to travel restrictions. Moore will deliver his talk at Perimeter this spring.

Following the talk, Spekkens will answer questions both from the in-house audience and from Facebook and Twitter (using the hashtag #piLIVE). Questions are welcomed from everyone – aspiring scientific explorers, school classes, physics and chemistry buffs, and general science enthusiasts.




Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) is an independent, non-profit, scientific research organization working to advance our understanding of physical laws and develop new ideas about the very essence of space, time, matter, and information. Located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, PI also provides a wide array of research training and educational outreach activities to nurture scientific talent and share the importance of discovery and innovation among students, teachers, and the general public. and @Perimeter.

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