Since 2002 Perimeter Institute has been recording seminars, conference talks, and public outreach events using video cameras installed in our lecture theatres. Perimeter now has 7 formal presentation spaces for its many scientific conferences, seminars, workshops and educational outreach activities, all with advanced audio-visual technical capabilities. Recordings of events in these areas are all available On-Demand from this Video Library and on Perimeter Institute Recorded Seminar Archive (PIRSA). PIRSA is a permanent, free, searchable, and citable archive of recorded seminars from relevant bodies in physics. This resource has been partially modelled after Cornell University's arXiv.org.
It has sometimes - though usually informally - been suggested that the psychological arrow can be reduced to the thermodynamic arrow through information processing properties of the brain. In this talk we demonstrate that this particular suggestion cannot succeed, as, insofar as information processing (at least in the sense of a classical computer) has an arrow of time, it is not governed by the thermodynamic arrow.
I will discuss fine tuning in modified gravity models that can account for today’s dark energy. I will introduce some models where the underlying cosmological constant may be Planck scale but starts as a redundant coupling which can be eliminated by a field redefinition. The observed vacuum energy arises when the redundancy is explicitly broken. I’ll give a recipe for constructing models that realize this mechanism and satisfy all solar system constraints on gravity, including one based on Gauss-Bonnet gravity which provides a technically natural explanation for dark energy.
In contrast to Heisenberg\'s position-momentum uncertainty relation, the status of the time-energy uncertainty relation has always remained dubious, For example, it is often said that \'time\' in quantum theory is not an observable and not represented by a self-adjoint operator. I will review the background of the problem and propose a view on the uncertainty relations in which the cases of position-momentum and time-energy can be treated in the same way.
In frustrated systems, competing interactions lead to complex phase diagrams and sometimes entirely new states of matter. Frustration often arises from the lattice geometry, leaving the system delicately balanced between a variety of possible orders. A number of normally weak effects can lead to a lifting of this degeneracy. For example, I will discuss how quantum fluctuations can stabilize a supersolid phase, where the system is at once both a crystal and a superfluid.
In this talk I will discuss a feature of quantum state evolution in a relativistic spacetime, the feature that David Albert has recently dubbed \'non-narratability.\' This is: a complete state history given along one foliation does not always, by itself (that is, without specification of the dynamics of the system), determine the history along another foliation. The question arises: is this a deep distinction between quantum and classical state evolution, that deserves our fuller attention? I will discuss some results relevant to this question.
It has been a common viewpoint that the process of quantization ought to replace the singularities of classical general relativity by some chaotic-looking structure at the scale of the Planck length. In this talk I shall argue that whereas this is to be expected at black-hole singularities, Nature\'s true picture of what goes on at the Big Bang is very different, where clocks cannot exist and the conformal geometry is completely smooth.
The underlying motivation for rejecting Everett\'s many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics and instead exploring single-world interpretations is to make physical theory concordant with human experience. From this perspective, the wave function collapse and Bohm-de Broglie interpretations are anthropocentric in origin. But this does not lessen their importance. Indeed accounting for our human experience of the physical world is a key element of any physical theory.
The unparalleled empirical success of quantum theory strongly suggests that it accurately captures fundamental aspects of the workings of the physical world. The clear articulation of these aspects is of inestimable value --- not only for the deeper understanding of quantum theory in itself, but for its further development, particularly for the development of a theory of quantum gravity.
A reference frame can be treated as a physical quantum object internal to the theory. Quantum reference frames whose size, and therefore accuracy, are bounded in some way necessarily limit one\'s ability to prepare states and to perform quantum operations and measurements on a system. The nature of these limitations is similar in many ways to that of decoherence. We investigate how a quantum reference frame of bounded size can be \'dequantized\', i.e., treated as external to the quantum formalism, in such a way as to induce an effective decoherence on any system described relative to it.
It is widely believed that the dynamical mechanism of decoherence plays a key role in understanding the emergence of classicality from quantum systems, via the environment-induced superselection of a preferred set of subsystem states, the density matrices for which are approximately diagonal in the pointer basis. In this talk, I prove that the vast majority of subsystems do *not* exhibit this behavior, regardless of the Hamiltonian. This shows that the emergence of classicality is highly state-dependent (as suggested by related work of Hartle and others).