Free Will in the Theory of Everything

Gerard ‘t Hooft

From what is known today about the elementary particles of matter, and the forces that control their behavior, it may be observed that still a host of obstacles must be overcome that are standing in the way of further progress of our understanding. Most researchers conclude that drastically new concepts must be investigated, new starting points are needed, older structures and theories, in spite of their successes, will have to be overthrown, and new, superintelligent questions will have to be asked and investigated. In short, they say that we shall need new physics. Here, we argue in a different manner. Today, no prototype, or toy model, of any so-called Theory of Everything exists, because the demands required of such a theory appear to be conflicting. The demands that we propose include locality, special and general relativity, together with a fundamental finiteness not only of the forces and amplitudes, but also of the set of Nature’s dynamical variables. We claim that the two remaining ingredients that we have today, Quantum Field Theory and General Relativity, indeed are coming a long way towards satisfying such elementary requirements. Putting everything together in a Grand Synthesis is like solving a gigantic puzzle. We argue that we need the correct analytical tools to solve this puzzle. Finally, it seems to be obvious that this solution will give room neither for “Divine Intervention”, nor for “Free Will”, an observation that, all by itself, can be used as a clue. We claim that this reflects on our understanding of the deeper logic underlying quantum mechanics.


Quantum Computing and the Entanglement Frontier

John Preskill, CalTech
The quantum laws governing atoms and other tiny objects seem to defy common sense, and information encoded in quantum systems has weird properties that baffle our feeble human minds. John Preskill will explain why he loves quantum entanglement, the elusive feature making quantum information fundamentally different from information in the macroscopic world. By exploiting quantum entanglement, quantum computers should be able to solve otherwise intractable problems, with far-reaching applications to cryptology, materials, and fundamental physical science. Preskill is less weird than a quantum computer, and easier to understand.

The Black Hole information problem: past, present, and future

Donald Marolf
We give a brief overview of the black hole information problem emphasizing fundamental issues and recent proposals for its resolution. The focus is on broad perspective and providing a guide to current literature rather than presenting full details. We concentrate on resolutions restoring naive unitarity…

Quantum communication with photons

Mario Krenn, Mehul Malik, Thomas Scheidl, Rupert Ursin, Anton Zeilinger
The secure communication of information plays an ever increasing role in our society today. Classical methods of encryption inherently rely on the difficulty of solving a problem such as finding prime factors of large numbers and can, in principle, be cracked by a fast enough machine. The burgeoning field of quantum communication relies on the fundamental laws of physics to offer unconditional information security. Here we introduce the key concepts of quantum superposition and entanglement as well as the no-cloning theorem that form the basis of this field. Then, we review basic quantum communication schemes with single and entangled photons and discuss recent experimental progress in ground and space-based quantum communication. Finally, we discuss the emerging field of high-dimensional quantum communication, which promises increased data rates and higher levels of security than ever before. We discuss recent experiments that use the orbital angular momentum of photons for sharing large amounts of information in a secure fashion.