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March 23, 2007

Frank Rioux Presents
What Part of the Quantum Theory Don't You Understand?

No other theory of the physical world has caused such consternation as quantum theory, for no other theory has so completely overthrown the previously cherished concepts of classical physics and our everyday interpretation of reality. -Peter Atkins, Lincoln College, Oxford University

Many decades before Atkins made this statement Niels Bohr claimed that if you were not shocked by quantum theory you did not understand what it was saying. Furthermore, Richard Feynman wasn't joking when he said, "I think I can safely say that no one understands quantum mechanics."

The goal of this presentation is to illustrate, with a demonstration involving polarized sunglass lenses and a modicum of mathematics, the peculiar and counter-intuitive quantum reality that has provoked statements about quantum mechanics such as those made by Atkins, Bohr and Feynman.