Lucien Hardy: Thought, Matter, and Quantum Theory

Lucien Hardy is a theoretical physicist at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada. He is known for his work on the foundation of quantum physics including Hardy’s paradox, a thought experiment he devised in 1992, and his widely cited 2001 axiomatic reconstruction of quantum theory that led to a surge of papers in this area. He is working on operational approaches to Quantum Theory, Quantum Field Theory, General Relativity, and Quantum Gravity.

Abstract:  It is deeply mysterious that consciousness can arise in the physical world.  In this talk I will look whether we can gain any insight into this by thinking about the foundations of quantum theory.  I will develop three separate strands of thought.  The first is that quantum theory is fundamentally an operational theory – it invokes the notion of agents making choices and making observations.  The second strand concerns computation.  If we think of the brain as a computer of some sort, then we need to have the right theory of computation.  Is the brain a classical computer, a quantum computer, or even a quantum gravity computer?  The third strand concerns quantum entanglement. I will discuss an experiment in which humans are used to switch the settings at each end of an experiment in which quantum entanglement is shared over a large distance (1000km) and the implications an anomalous result would have for the study of mind.

Related articles: A classic quantum test could reveal the limits of the human mind, New Scientist, 19 May 2017

Photo Credit: Gabriela Secara – Perimeter Institute 

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