W101 | Quantum Theory: Still Crazy After All These Years


10:00 am - 11:30 am


7/21, 7/28, 8/4, 8/11, 8/18 & 8/25

Six Sessions 

This course is offered online via the easy-to-use Zoom program.

Why do hot coals glow red rather than, say, blue?  Remarkably, this simple, everyday question cannot be fully answered without invoking one of the key ideas of quantum theory, namely, that light is “lumpy.”  Quantum theory, developed a century ago, explains glowing coals, the periodic table and much, much more.  And yet we find it difficult to extract from the theory any coherent picture of reality.  In this course, we study the origins of quantum theory, its potential for future technology, and the efforts of physicists and philosophers to figure out what the theory is telling us about the world. 

Recommended reading: How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog by Chad Orzel

Bill Wootters is a retired professor of physics at Williams College, with a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. Most of his research has been in quantum information theory and the foundations of quantum mechanics. He has taught two previous OLLI courses, “The Speed of Light” and “Gravity.”


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