News

March Science Pub features 'Quantum Coolness'

The March 8 Science Pub Salem will feature Willamette University physics professor Michaela Kleinert discussing “Quantum Coolness” at Brown's Towne Lounge starting at 6:30 p.m.

Search the Internet for “quantum” and you'll find offers for data storage, fishing gear, health supplements and fuel systems. Almost all of the top results are unrelated to the theory of quantum mechanics, which can make it difficult to separate science-fact from science-fiction.

Kleinert’s discussion will reveal the unintuitive province of the quanta, a realm where physical laws seemingly defy everyday human experience.

“Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory hasn’t fully understood it,” Kleinert said. “I hope to share enough of the ‘shock’ to interest people in this fascinating subject and to empower them to spot quantum snake oil.”

At Willamette, Kleinert works with students on a magneto-optical trap, which uses lasers and magnetic fields to cool and hold individual rubidium and calcium atoms. She hopes to create ultracold molecules, each consisting of a rubidium and calcium atom, within the next few years.

Science Pub Salem is a partnership between the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and Willamette University. Instead of a speaker behind a distant podium, expect an informal presentation over food and drinks with plenty of time for a lively discussion.

Brown's Towne Lounge is open to adults 21 and over, and it is in the heart of downtown Salem at 189 Liberty St. NE. Science Pub is free, so arrive early to eat, drink and ensure you get a seat.

To sign up for the Science Pub mailing list or for more information, visit www.omsi.edu/sciencepubsalem.

02-22-2011