How is a particle like a chocolate chip cookie? And the universe like a game of chess? These were two of the questions answered by James Francis in his presentation to The Aston Society entitled ‘A Brief History of Quantum Mechanics’.
James began his talk by outlining the problem of investigating things on a tiny scale. He summarised the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle that energy and time or position and momentum of a quantum mechanical system cannot both be accurately measured simultaneously.
James’ talk ranged from a discussion of the discovery of the electron in 1897 and then later the discovery Quarks that make up protons and neutrons to the make up of the universe and then into the Standard Model of Physics that describes the universe in 16 particles.
Having explained the Model James then dismantled the theory as a fabrication and instead put forward Quantum Field Theory that seeks to explain the university in terms of fields leading to the idea of the Higgs Field and the Higgs Boson.
James concluded his lecture by outlining some of the problems of the Standard Model and the problem of gravity. He suggested that the time when we will have an equation that explains the universe is getting closer and may lie in the concept of Super-Symmetry or alternatively in String Theory.
James gave his talk completely unaided by notes and showed an extraordinary understanding of a highly complex subject matter. He presented an extremely professional lecture backed with excellent visuals to take us through the history of Quantum Mechanics and interspersed his talk with a lovely dry wit!