Special Physics Seminar: Thursday, February 28, 2019-- From Classical Surfaces to Quantum States

Event Date: 

Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 5:15pm to 6:15pm

Event Location: 

  • Broida 3302
  • Special Physics Seminar

Our quantum ideas sprang from classical concepts, and classical results should arise as limits of quantum theory.  Yet the stage and actors for classical and quantum mechanics seem very different.  In this talk I will re-introduce you to the geometric playgrounds that form the natural settings for both classical and quantum mechanics. These spaces share a deep connection, which I explore through the relationship between surfaces in classical mechanics generated by conserved quantities and states of the corresponding quantum system. I show how semi-classical methods are used at this intersection of classical and quantum mechanics, where they provide approximate wave functions and predict quantization. All of this will be discussed in the context of our favorite system, the simple harmonic oscillator. 

Austin Hedeman, St. Mary's College of California