Professor Jonathan Oppenheim Inaugural Lecture, 5 June 2013

Publication date: Jan 25, 2013 12:55 PM

Start: Jun 05, 2013 04:00 PM
End: Jun 05, 2013 06:00 PM

Location: Harrie Massey LT

Prof. Jonathan Oppenheim

What are the laws of quantum thermodynamics?


Weds 5 June 2013


4.00pm, followed by a drinks reception.


Harrie Massey Lecture Theatre



The second law of thermodynamics tells us which state transformations are so statistically unlikely that they are effectively forbidden. It's original formulation, due to Clausius, states that ``Heat can never pass from a colder to a warmer body without some other change, connected therewith, occurring at the same time.'' The laws of thermodynamics apply in the thermodynamic limit, but is there a second law of thermodynamics in the quantum regime? Here, we find that for processes which are cyclic or very close to cyclic, the second law in the micro-regime takes on a very different form than it does at the macroscopic scale, imposing not just one constraint on what state transformations are possible, but an entire family of constraints. We further find that there are three regimes which govern which family of second laws govern state transitions, depending on how cyclic the process is.

Jonathan Oppenheim was born in Cape Town South Africa, and received his PhD at the University of British Columbia under Bill Unruh. He is currently a Royal Society University Research Fellow and Wolfson Merit Award holder at University College London. In October 2013, he will take up an EPSRC established career fellowship. His research interests include quantum information theory, thermodynamics, and quantum gravity.