• Oct 26 2011

    26 - 28 October 2011: Workshop on Foundations of Quantum Theory: measurement, the quantum to classical transition, and the flow of time

    An International Workshop on the foundations of quantum physics will take place from Wednesday 26th to Friday 28th of October 2011 at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS)

    Hosted by:

    The National Institute for Theoretical Physics (NITheP), South Africa


    George Ellis: george.ellis@uct.ac.za

    Jeff Murugan: jeffmurugan@gmail.com

    Amanda Weltman: awelti@gmail.com
    (Astrophysics, Cosmology & Gravity Center (ACGC) and Department of Mathematics & Applid Mathematics, University of Cape Town

    Anton Zeilinger: anton.zeilinger@univie.ac.at
    (Quantum Optics, Quantum Nanophysics, Quantum Information: University of Vienna)

    Conference secretary:

    Conference Secretary: Di Loureiro, email: (diana.lapidoloureiro@uct.ac.za)


    Wednesday 26 October 2011 to Friday 28 October 2011


    The workshop will focus on the relation between quantum measurement, the flow of time, and the quantum to classical transition. These issues have implications for our view on what kinds of existence are represented by classical and quantum states, and what are the relations between them.

    This will be an opportunity for local workers to interact with high-level speakers from overseas on these foundational issues, and hence will develop the topic in general but also promote its discussion and development in the African context in particular.

    Apart from the usual themes related to foundations of quantum theory, there are four specific issues at stake that are not so often examined. Firstly, should we consider classical or quantum objects as primary? Both views have been held. Secondly, is the wave function a physical or mental construct? The nature of the collapse problem is quite different in these two cases. Thirdly, however one construes that process, how does quantum measurement relate to irreversibility and the flow of time? Fourthly, does it somehow enable one to influence events that seem to be in the past? This is possible on some views.


    The workshop will be a small three day focused meeting on these issues, with four talks each day. Thus there will twelve speakers, plus about twenty observers. This format will allow in depth discussions where the speakers will have real time to interact with each other.

    The following questions will be addressed:

    • What have we learned from fundamental experiments recently?

    • Clauser and Horne in their first review of Bell and EPR conclude that either our notions of space and time need to be modified, or own understanding of reality. Therefore, which approaches to reality (or objectivity) and locality (or space-time) have been ruled out thus far?

    • More precisely, which combinations of fundamental reasoning and methodology have become untenable? Which are still tenable?

    • If there were ever a new theory beyond present quantum physics, how could we find it? Experimentally? Or theoretically?

    • Which features of the present theory will by necessity be also part of the new theory?


    Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) http://www.stias.ac.za/, Stellenbosch, South Africa, a beautiful new research & visitor center in the scenic university town of Stellenbosch. A brochure about the venue can be downloaded here http://bit.ly/k8Xh1O

    Topics and Invited speakers:

    1. Entanglement experiments: Anton Zeilinger (Vienna: anton.zeilinger@univie.ac.at. See arXiv:0712.0921 , arXiv:0905.0653. Webpage http://www.quantum.at/zeilinger/) [accepted]

    2. Monitoring the wave function by time continuous position measurement:
    Thomas Konrad (UKZN: email konradt@ukzn.ac.za)
    See http://arxiv.org/abs/0902.2249 [accepted]
    Web page http://bit.ly/l3KVn9,

    3. Complementarity and uncertainty relations: Peter Knight (Imperial college: p.knight@imperial.ac.uk). See arXiv:0709.0613 Webpage: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/people/p.knight) [accepted]

    4. Dynamical collapse processes: Giancarlo Ghirardi
    (Trieste: ghirardi@ts.infn.it. See arXiv:0904.0958. Webpage
    http://www.qmts.it/people/ghirardi/ghirardi.html) [accepted]

    5. Ultra fast measurement: Ian Walmsley (Oxford: ultrafast optics group http://www.physics.ox.ac.uk/ultrafast/ email walmsley@physics.ox.ac.uk)
    See arXiv:0807.2444 , arXiv:0906.3440 [accepted]
    Webpage http://www.physics.ox.ac.uk/al/people/walmsley.htm

    6. Progressive field state collapse: Serge Haroche (College du France: haroche@lkb.ens.fr. See arXiv:0707.3880v1. Webpage:
    http://www.cqed.org/IMG/pdf/S.Haroche-Notice-2008-2.pdf) [accepted]

    7. Information based reconstruction of quantum mechanics
    Caslav Brukner (Faculty of Physics, University of Vienna) caslav.brukner@univie.ac.at See arXiv:quant-ph/0609079v3 and arXiv:0704.2529v2 [accepted].
    Webpages: http://homepage.univie.ac.at/caslav.brukner/caslav-brukner.html and http://quantumfoundations.weebly.com/reconstruction-of-quantum-mechanics.html

    8. Quantum Information Processing and the measurement process
    Francesco Petruccione (UKZN Centre for quantum technology: petruccione@ukzn.ac.za. See arXiv:0902.2249. [accepted] Webpage http://quantum.ukzn.ac.za/members/prof-f-petruccione)

    9. Time symmetric QM: Paul Davies (ASU, Phoenix,
    Arizona: Paul.Davies@asu.edu. See arXiv:0807.1357. Webpage http://cosmos.asu.edu/) [accepted]

    10. Delayed choice experiments: Jean-Francois Roch (Ecole Normale Sup√?¬©rieure de Cachan, France: roch@physique.ens-cachan.fr) [accepted] See arXiv:0710.2597 and arXiv:0801.0979. Webpage: http://www.ens-cachan.fr/version-anglaise/top/directory/roch-jean-francois-25598.kjsp?RH=1202138469161

    11. Quantum correlations and space-time Bell inequalities: Andrew White
    (Queensland: email agx.white@gmail.com) See arXiv:1011.1304 [accepted]
    Webpage http://quantum.info/andrew/)

    12. Violation of a Leggett-Garg inequality with a finite temperature ensemble:
    Andrew Briggs (Oxford: Andrew.briggs@materials.ox.ac.uk)
    See arXiv:1104.0238 [accepted ] Webpage: http://www.materials.ox.ac.uk/peoplepages/briggs.html

    13: The crystallising block universe: George Ellis
    (Cape Town: george.ellis@uct.ac.za. See arXiv:0912.0808 .Webpage http://bit.ly/myH0o3 ) [accepted]

    14: What quantum information tells us about quantum mechanics: Christopher Fuchs (Perimeter Institute: cfuchs@perimeterinstitute.ca) [accepted]. See
    arXiv:quant-ph/0205039 Webpage:http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/personal/cfuchs/)

    Visit to Stellenbosch Laser Research lab, arranged by Christine Steenkamp
    (Laser Research Institute, Stellenbosch: cmsteen@sun.ac.za.
    See http://www.saip.org.za/documents/CMSteenkampSilverMedal.pdf )

    Registration Information

    Due to space limitations, the number of participants will be strictly limited. To register for this workshop, please complete the on-line registration form on this page. The closing date for registration is 31 August 2011.

    ***PLEASE NOTE: ***
    Once all applications have been received (by the 31st of August), all applications will be considered and all applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application via e-mail by the 7th of September 2011. Successful applicants will then be asked to pay their registration fee at that time. Please do not make any payments until you have been informed that your application has been successful.

    Registration Fee

    A registration fee of R 991.20 is payable after the 7th of September when all applicants would have been informed of the outcome of their application. In order to make payment, please see the banking details below.

    The registration fee includes refreshments/coffee/tea/lunches for all three conference days.

    Please note over and above the registration fee, all accommodation and travel costs for participants are for their own account, except in the case of approved students who might be selected to receive financial support.

    The registration fee must be paid to:

    Name: Stellenbosch University, NITheP.

    Banking detail: (for international participants)
    Bank: First National Bank Cape Town
    Physical Address: 5th Floor Media City
    No 1 Heerengracht
    Rua Vasco Da Gama Entrance
    Cape Town
    Account name: University of Stellenbosch Foreign Income
    Account number: 62107177083
    Branch Code: 204 109
    S.W.I.F.T Address: FIRNZAJJ
    Reference: R1386/Initial and Surname

    Banking detail: (for local/South African participants)
    Bank: Standard Bank
    Account name: US Deposito
    Account number: 073006955
    Branch code: 050610
    Reference: R1386/Initial and Surname

    Financial Support

    There will be a limited number of South African students that will be able to receive financial support. If you are interested, please indicate that on the application form on this page.

    Please note that due to budgetary limitations, financial support can only be given to South African and African students living in South Africa.

    With the registration deadline being the 31st of August, all applicants for Financial Support will be notified of the outcome of their application by the 7th of September 2011.

    Tourist attractions:

    South Africa is a popular tourist destination, and receives over two and a half million international visitors per year. Information about tourist attractions is available at http://bit.ly/1g3a7j and similar websites. A number of good travel guide books http://bit.ly/b7W9ht are also available.

    Weekend excursions:

    The conference organizers will contact tour operators to provide weekend excursions on the weekend of 29 and 30 October (weather permitting). More details on the available options and prices to be made available later.

    NITheP contact information:

    Please contact Monique Louw at NITheP, 021-808-2649 or moniquel(at)sun.ac.za