Physicist to discuss modern drama – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Physicist to discuss modern drama

Sigma Xi lecture looks at Beckett play, quantum mechanics interpretations

Professor Donald Spector of the Physics Department will deliver the annual Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecture, “The Trouble with Waiting for Godot in Copenhagen, at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 12 in Stern 103.

Science will meet art as Spector shows how quantum mechanics and the play “Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett, each can be used to understand the other.

The drama can be understood as a play about the tension between the Copenhagen and the Many Worlds interpretations of quantum mechanics, Spector will explain. The play thus enables its audience to understand better this debate that lies at the heart of quantum mechanics.

He will argue in return, that the competing interpretations of quantum mechanics provide a framework that enables us to understand better the existential difficulties facing the characters in “Waiting for Godot. One need not be familiar with the play or with quantum mechanics to be able to follow the lecture.

A member of the faculty since 1989, Spector is Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Colleges, chair of the Physics Department, and the Philip J. Moorad ’28 and Margaret N. Moorad Professor of Science. His research, which focuses on theoretical particle physics and supersymmetry, has been recognized by the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and the National Science Foundation.

Sponsored by the Geneva Chapter of Sigma Xi, a scientific research honor society, his talk is free and open to the public.