One of the most well-known of George Csicsery's documentaries: N is a Number: A Portrait of Paul Erd? (1993) is the story of the immensely prolific and equally eccentric, wandering mathematician obsessed with unsolved problems. It was broadcast on Duna-TV, Hungary (1995), SBS-Australia (1996), the Sundance Channel-USA (1996-98), NHK-Japan (1997), and Noorder Licht, VPRO- Netherlands, January 2001. The film is currently playing on PBS stations by arrangement with American Public Television, (2002-2006).George Csicsery is producing several biographical and interview film portraits of mathematicians, including projects on Julia Robinson, Paul Halmos, R. L. Moore, and Ronald Graham. Julia Robinson and Hilbert's Tenth Problem is a video portrait of Julia Robinson, the first woman elected to the mathematical section of the National Academy of Sciences, and the first woman to become president of the American Mathematical Society. The biographical documentary features a heroine, captivated by the lure of unsolved mathematical problems, who rises against formidable obstacles to assume a leading role in her field. Robinson's career encompassed critical developments in 20th century mathematics. The film presents Robinson's life in the context of the 70-year search for a solution to Hilbert's tenth problem. The film interweaves the personal story of an important figure in American mathematics with the discovery of new ideas that led to the development of computers. [click here to close]
Sir Anthony J. Leggett, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor and Center for Advanced Study Professor of Physics, has been a faculty member at Illinois since 1983. He is widely recognized as a world leader in the theory of low-temperature physics, and his pioneering work on superfluidity was recognized by the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences (foreign member), and is a Fellow of the Royal Society (U.K.), the American Physical Society, and the American Institute of Physics. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Physics (U.K.). He was knighted (KBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004 "for services to physics."
His current research focuses on cuprate superconductivity, conceptual issues in the foundations of quantum mechanics, and superfluidity in highly degenerate atomic gases. The International Herald Tribune in an article printed in the 29 December 2005 edition, "New tests of Einstein's 'spooky' reality" referred to his Autumn 2005 debate at a conference in Berkeley, California, with fellow Nobel laureate Norman Ramsey of Harvard. Both debated the worth of attempts to change quantum theory. Leggett thought attempts were justified, Ramsey opposed. Leggett believes quantum mechanics may be incomplete because of the quantum measurement problem.[click here to close]
A great challenge of theoretical physics is understanding and modeling interacting quantum many-body systems or quantum fields, and accurately predicting properties and functionalities of matter from the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics. My research work is in condensed matter physics and quantum information science. One of my main interests centers on the physics of strongly coupled systems, which is one of today's most active research areas in condensed matter. My interest is fueled by the new states of matter such systems can display and the exceptional material properties these phases sometimes exhibit.
The quest to explore the ultimate limits and principles of quantum physics is out there. Quantum technologies are no longer a theorist's dream. For example, commercial quantum cryptography devices have become available. Because of the exciting recent development of new algorithms, such as Shor's factoring and Grover's quantum search, that solve difficult problems on a quantum computer using algorithms that would be impractical on a classical computer, it is easy to overlook the fact that Feynman's original proposal for quantum computers was for the purpose of solving quantum physics problems. Simulation of physical phenomena using quantum devices is one of my areas of research. I am also concerned with topics of potential overlap between my two research disciplines, where feedback from one field may help to resolve significant problems in the other. After all, a quantum computer is a quantum many-body system. What are the concepts from quantum information that one can use to study or predict phenomena in condensed matter physics? Similarly, what concepts can be borrowed from condensed matter to quantify measures of information? These are fundamental open questions. Designing and building a quantum computer or a quantum simulator is a ultimate example of topics that meet the boundaries of both disciplines. Cold atom physics is another. [click here to close]
William Bialek is the John Archibald Wheeler/Battelle Professor in Physics at Princeton University. He is also an associated faculty member in the Department of Molecular Biology, and a member of the multidisciplinary Lewis-Sigler Institute. His research interests have ranged over a wide variety of theoretical problems at the interface of physics and biology, from the dynamics of individual biological molecules to learning and cognition. He is best known for contributions to our understanding of coding and computation in the brain. Bialek and collaborators have shown that aspects of brain function can be described as essentially optimal strategies for adapting to the complex dynamics of the world, making the most of the available signals in the face of fundamental physical constraints and limitations. [click here to close]
His other research interests include algorithmic information theory, in which the concepts of information and randomness are developed in terms of the input/output relation of universal computers, and the analogous use of universal computers to define the intrinsic complexity or "logical depth" of a physical state as the time required by a universal computer to simulate the evolution of the state from a random initial state. In 1993 Bennett and Brassard, in collaboration with others, discovered "quantum teleportation", an effect in which the complete information in an unknown quantum state is decomposed into purely classical information and purely non-classical Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR paradox) correlations, sent through two separate channels, and later reassembled in a new location to produce an exact replica of the original quantum state that was destroyed in the sending process. In 1995-7, working with Smolin, Wootters, IBM's David DiVincenzo, and other collaborators, he introduced several techniques for faithful transmission of classical and quantum information through noisy channels, part of the larger and recently very active field of quantum information and computation theory. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. [click here to close]
Beginning in the late 1960s, Chaitin [research timeline] made contributions to algorithmic information theory and metamathematics, in particular a new incompleteness theorem similar in spirit to G?el's incompleteness theorem. He attended the Bronx High School of Science and City College of New York, where he (still in his teens) developed the theories that led to his independent discovery of Kolmogorov complexity. Chaitin has defined Chaitin's constant Omega, a real number whose digits are equidistributed and which is sometimes informally described as an expression of the probability that a random program will halt. Omega has the mathematical property that it is definable but not computable.
Chaitin also writes about philosophy, especially metaphysics and philosophy of mathematics (particularly about epistemological matters in mathematics). In metaphysics, Chaitin claims that algorithmic information theory is the key to solving problems in the field of biology (obtaining a formal definition of ?life?, its origin and evolution) and neuroscience (the problem of consciousness and the study of the mind). Indeed, in recent writings, he defends a position known as digital philosophy. In the epistemology of mathematics, he claims that his findings in mathematical logic and algorithmic information theory show there are ?mathematical facts that are true for no reason, they're true by accident. They are random mathematical facts?. Chaitin proposes that mathematicians must abandon any hope of proving those mathematical facts and adopt a quasi-empirical methodology. [click here to close]
His most cited books are "Information and Randomness", Springer, Heidelberg, 2nd ed. 2002, and "Computing with Cells and Atoms" (with G. Paun), Francis & Taylor, London, 2001. He was featured in the "New Scientist", "Pour la Science" and "La Recherche" and science magazines published by Sueddeutsche Zeitung and NZ Herald.
He is a member of the Academia Europaea and a Hood Fellow.The title of Prof. Calude's talk will be: Can Randomness be Certified by Proof? [close]
When Prof. Scott was 16, his family moved to Sacramento, which gave him the chance to attend a first-rate high school and obtain a scholarship. He entered UC Berkeley as a math major in 1950 and came into contact with prominent professional mathematicians who helped to shape his future career. A key influence at Berkeley was the Polish logician Alfred Tarski who, among many accomplishments had developed the idea of a compositional semantics for traditional logical languages. Scott adopted this approach in thinking about applying domain theory to computer languages. He received his Bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1954. He wrote his Ph.D. thesis on Convergent Sequences of Complete Theories under the supervision of Alonzo Church while at Princeton, and defended his thesis in 1958. He then moved to the University of Chicago, working as an instructor there until 1960. In 1959, he published a joint paper with Michael O. Rabin, a colleague from Princeton, entitled Finite Automata and Their Decision Problem, which introduced the idea of nondeterministic machines to automata theory and earned him the Turing Award. In 1967 he published a paper, A proof of the independence of the continuum hypothesis, which introduced an alternate analysis of the independence of the continuum hypothesis to that provided by Paul Cohen. This work led to the award of the Leroy P. Steele Prize in 1972. A dramatic turning point in Scott's research career came in the summer of 1969 [... click here for more]In addition to Oxford, Scott has worked and taught at some of the world's most prestigious universities, including the University of California at Berkeley, Princeton University, Stanford University and the universities of Chicago, Amsterdam and Linz. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the British Academy. (more career highlights). [click here to close]
In 1989-90 Gleick was the McGraw Distinguished Lecturer at Princeton University. He collaborated with the photographer Eliot Porter on Nature's Chaos (Viking Penguin, 1990) and with developers at Autodesk on Chaos: The Software. In 1993, when the Internet was a glimmer on the horizon, he founded The Pipeline, a New York City service that pioneered the first full-featured graphical user interface for Internet access from Windows and Macintosh computers. For some years Gleick wrote a column called "Fast Forward," focusing on technology and the future, for the New York Times Magazine. His views on the changing technologies of information animated his next books: Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything, an exploration of our increasingly strained and fractured relationship with time; and What Just Happened, a collection of his essays chronicling the emergence of cyberspace. Gleick was the editor of Best American Science Writing 2000 and is active on the council of the Authors Guild. His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and other magazines. He lives with his wife, the journalist and author Cynthia Crossen, and their dog, Astro, in the Hudson Valley of New York. His new book is Isaac Newton. [more] [more]Here's audio of James Gleick in a discussion with Janna Levin ( January 2008, website). [click here to close]