Peace and Security in a Quantum Age: Moment, Matter, Mind and Metaphysics

The University of Sydney and Q Station
11 – 13 February 2016

With quantum, ‘what’ begs questions of beginnings, levels of analysis and the boundaries of disciplinary knowledge. A hundred years ago the thought-experiments of quantum mechanics introduced new principles of wave-particle duality, uncertainty and entanglement to explain how the microphysical world works. In the following century, quantum interpretations were validated in laboratories, and practical applications soon followed, including – for better or worse – many of the technological markers of modernity, like thermonuclear weapons, computers, transistors, lasers, LED’s and mobile phones. More recently, quantum has been applied at the macrophysical level to posit new explanations for photosynthesis, bird migration, and most controversially, human consciousness; at the cosmological level to pose the origin – and possible end – of not just one but many universes; and at the metaphysical level, to consider the political, ethical and philosophical implications of quantum computing, communication and artificial intelligence.

Attaching quantum to phenomena beyond the sub-atomic can provoke skepticism and even hostility. However, quantum has from its origins raised serious philosophical and political questions as well as generated macro- and meta-physical implications for peace and security. Rather than wait for the possible to become real (see nuclear fission, 1939 to 1945), Q stages a critical inquiry into the societal, strategic and ethical consequences of living in a quantum age.

Titles and abstracts: Panelist Presentations (PDF)

Schedule

Thursday, 11 February 2016

The Q Lecture
Speaker: Jairus Grove, University of Hawaii

Friday, 12 February

Panel 1 – Quantum Moment
Moderator: James Der Derian, CISS/USYD

Speakers:
Michael Biercuk, Quantum Control Lab/USYD
Shohini Ghose, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada
Bentley B. Allan, Johns Hopkins University

Panel 2 – Quantum Matter
Moderator: Frank Smith, CISS/USYD

Speakers:
Stephen Bartlett, Quantum Physics Research Group/USYD
Andrew Dzurak, Centre for Quantum Computer Technology/UNSW
Chao-Yang Lu, University of Science and Technology of China

8.30 pm Documentary Screening with Q&A

‘The Making of Project Z’, Phillip Gara
‘Project Z: The Final Global Event’, James Der Derian and Phillip Gara

Saturday, 13 February

Video Screening followed by Q&A Skype
‘Quantum Mind and the Social Sciences’
Alexander Wendt, Ohio State University

Panel 3 – Quantum Mind
Moderator: Colin Wight, CISS/USYD

Speakers:
Anirban Bandyopadhyay, National Institute for Materials Science in Japan
Andrew Duggins, Sydney Medical School/USYD
Johnjoe McFadden, University of Surrey

Panel 4 – Quantum Metaphysics
Moderator: Jairus Grove, University of Hawaii

Speakers:
Alexa Meade, Artist
Christopher Fuchs, University of Massachusetts, Boston
John Phillip Santos, University of Texas, San Antonio

Panel 5 – Implications: Peace and Security in a Quantum Age
Moderator: James Der Derian, CISS/USYD

Speakers:
Azar Gat, Tel Aviv University
Karen O’Brien, University of Oslo
Taylor Owen, University of British Columbia
Christopher Reus-Smit, University of Queensland
Stephen Del Rosso, Carnegie Corporation of New York