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2005 Anthony J. Leggett

Anthony J. Leggett, recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor and Center for Advanced Study Professor of Physics, will give the Physics Department's 2005 Ta-You Wu Lecture.

The lecture was Wednesday, October 19, 2005 in the 4th Floor Amphitheater of Rackham on the University of Michigan, Central Campus

"Does the Everyday World Really Obey Quantum Mechanics?"

Quantum mechanics has been enormously successful in describing nature at the atomic level, and most physicists believe that it is in principle the “whole truth” about the world even at the everyday level. However, such a view prima facie leads to a severe problem: in certain circumstances, the most natural interpretation of the theory implies that no definite outcome of an experiment occurs until the act of “observation.” For many decades this problem was regarded as “merely philosophical,” in the sense that it was thought that it had no consequences which could be tested in experiment. However, in the last dozen or so years, the situation has changed very dramatically in this respect. Professor Leggett will discuss the problem, some popular “resolutions” of it, the current experimental situation and prospects for the future.