Gone in an Instanton

Speaker: 
Ariel Sibilia
Event Date and Time: 
Fri, 2012-05-18 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 318
Intended Audience: 
Graduate


I will discuss a unique quantum computational method, used in Quantum Field Theory, called the Instanton method. The essential premise of the method is that one may take a field theory and analyze a classical solution where the field value takes a sudden jump. The time scale of the jump is well localized within the scale of the problem. These solutions are called Instantons, and can be used to compute the approximate transition amplitude of a quantum tunnelling process in a wider variety of systems than other known processes. I will introduce the details of such in a basic one dimensional quantum mechanical process, and then explain how the formalism can be extended. My favourite use of Instantons, which is also an essential focal point of my talk, is a doomsday theory, the Coleman Bubble. It's simple, elegant, and maybe not as flashy or tantalizing as, say, a Zombie Apocalypse or Nuclear Winter, but it's certainly more devastating. You may want to build an anti-Coleman Bubble shelter (or find a fridge, if you're a well known archaeologist action hero) after hearing my talk. Time permitting, I will discuss other applications.

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