Reflections

20 years of qubits: the arXiv data

Editor's Note: The preceding post on Quantum Frontiers inspired the always curious Paul Ginsparg to do some homework on usage of the word "qubit" in papers posted on the arXiv. Rather than paraphrase Paul's observations I will quote his email verbatim, so you can experience its Ginspargian style. fig has total # uses of qubit [...]

2017-01-13T10:05:34+00:00June 11th, 2015|Reflections|1 Comment

Who named the qubit?

Perhaps because my 40th wedding anniversary is just a few weeks away, I have been thinking about anniversaries lately, which reminded me that we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of a number of milestones in quantum information science. In 1995 Cirac and Zoller proposed, and Wineland's group first demonstrated, the ion trap quantum computer. Quantum [...]

2017-01-13T10:05:34+00:00June 9th, 2015|Reflections|15 Comments

Mingling stat mech with quantum info in Maryland

I felt like a yoyo. I was standing in a hallway at the University of Maryland. On one side stood quantum-information theorists. On the other side stood statistical-mechanics scientists.* The groups eyed each other, like Jets and Sharks in West Side Story, except without fighting or dancing. This March, the groups were generous enough to [...]

Paul Dirac and poetry

In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in the case of poetry, it's the exact opposite!       - Paul Dirac Paul Dirac I tacked Dirac’s quote onto the bulletin board above my desk, the [...]

2017-01-13T10:05:35+00:00April 12th, 2015|Reflections|15 Comments

Quantum Frontiers salutes Terry Pratchett.

I blame British novels for my love of physics. Philip Pullman introduced me to elementary particles; Jasper Fforde, to the possibility that multiple worlds exist; Diana Wynne Jones, to questions about space and time. So began the personal statement in my application to Caltech’s PhD program. I didn’t mention Sir Terry Pratchett, but he belongs [...]

2017-01-13T10:05:35+00:00March 15th, 2015|Reflections|5 Comments

Democrat plus Republican over the square-root of two

I wish I could superpose votes on Election Day. However much I agree with Candidate A about social issues, I dislike his running mate. I lean toward Candidate B’s economic plans and C’s science-funding record, but nobody’s foreign policy impresses me. Must I settle on one candidate? May I not vote Now you can---at least in [...]