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Isaiah Berlin Lecture HT12
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Quantum Nanoscience grant awarded

The Faculty is delighted to announce that, as part of a research team involving colleagues in the Departments of Materials Science, Physics and the Computing Laboratory, Dr Chris Timpson (CUF Lecturer in Philosophy and Tutorial Fellow at Brasenose College) has been awarded a $1.1 million grant by the John Templeton Foundation. The grant is for the project Quantum Nanoscience: Fundamental Physics, Emerging Structures and Implications for our Ultimate Reality.

Current quantum physics, with its advances in the experimental control of individual quantum states in nanosystems and in the abstract description of information flow, presents a number of philosophical questions. This project, which has the overall aim of shaping the emerging discipline of quantum nanoscience by fostering research at the interfaces between existing fields, will seek to understand the relation between the abstract concepts of information and information flow, the principles which govern them, and their physical manifestation in quantum nanostructures. This highly interdisciplinary and international - enterprise will bring together the areas of experimental quantum nanoscience, theory of quantum control, fundamentals of quantum information, and philosophy of physics to address fundamental conceptual questions that individual disciplinary perspectives are unable singly to encompass. Guiding big questions for the project as a whole will be:

  1. As entities embedded in and interacting with a quantum world, how does our understanding of the complicated nature of quantum information flows affect our conception of reality?
  2. What is unique about the complexity which emerges in experimental quantum nanostructures, and what does it have in common with hierarchical structures in epistemology, linguistics, biology, and other disciplines?
  3. How do the ideas which emerge at the confluence of logic, language, and measurement inform our understanding of our own embodied existence and the incarnation of the divine?

The project will commence in January 2011 and will involve a number of postdoctoral research assistants, for which applications are now invited: see http://www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk/vacancies/postdoctoral_research_assistant_in_philosophy and http://www.materials.ox.ac.uk/vacancies.html#Post-doctoralResearchers . Additional support is provided by the Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore who are funding two additional postdoctoral positions: http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/ABU722/research-fellow/

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