Director of KCIK
Message from KCIK director“All our former experience with application of quantum theory seems to say that what is predicted by quantum formalism must occur in the laboratory.” From the perspective of almost a century, quantum theory appears as a kind of quantum inscription written in an abstract mathematical language, based on axioms that are difficult to translate into intuition. Deciphering its successive verses is a fascinating intellectual adventure, reaching out for ever new resources – the quantum correlations responsible for its subtle organization. There was a time when it seemed that the quantum inscription had been deciphered and no longer held any power to surprise us. The rise and rapid development of quantum information theory at the turn of 20th and 21st century, including present discoveries, reveal how deceptive this assumption was.
Quantum inscription, being equally resistant to both understanding of the machinery of its formalism and to countless experimental tests, is among the greatest challenges to the human intellect. Perhaps the most significant challenge was issued by John Bell when he formulated the theorem which is an unshakeable foundation for the tests of “applied philosophy”. It inclines us to ask more general questions. Why does Nature allow itself to be described at all? After all, it might be spiteful and not exhibit any kind of regularity. One of the attempts to open the “safe of cognition” was Hans Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutic philosophy of understanding, encapsulated in the formula: “The phenomenon of language and understanding is a universal model of being and cognition.” Gadamer’s turn to language once more inclines us to ask the natural questions: Is the language of quantum inscription – the formalism of the Hilbert space – somehow distinguished, and is it universal? Do such concepts as “non-commutativity”, “randomness”, “uncertainty”, suitably rescaled, turn out to be invariants of the modelling of physical reality that embraces the phenomenon of gravity? Does the “classic world” only reflect the border form of the quantum structure of the world? Is an anthropocentric cosmological principle in conflict with quantum no-go bonds on the processing of quantum information? Can the quantum inscription be described from outside as a kind of game between the observer and Nature, and what connection does this have with Gödel’s theorem? Do the laws of Nature constitute a kind of bonds on the processing quantum information? Or perhaps Nature is “polyglot” and requires complementary (non-contradictory) languages.
Naturally many other questions can be asked. You may view inscription from many different perspectives and trace your own virgin trail; the reward is always the inscrutable horizon of cognition. There is also a practical dimension. Nature generously repays attention, revealing its characteristic potential, which translates into quality of life.
The National Quantum Information Centre is open to bold challenges. A special kind of atmosphere prevails here, in which creative freedom is encouraged. The historic building which is the Centre’s headquarters in Sopot, set in beautiful natural surroundings between woods and sea, provides an unrivalled space for discourse and co-operative endeavours that cut across all possible divisions.
Biographical NoteRyszard Horodecki - main co-organizer and Director of KCIK from the beginning of its existence. Professor at the University of Gdańsk, corresponding member of the Polish Academy of Sciences. One of the pioneers of quantum information theory. His current research encompasses information rules, objectivity in quantum theory and some aspects of quantum correlations. Awarded with the Prize of Foundation for Polish Science (2008), Jan Heweliusz Scientific Prize of the City of Gdańsk (2008), Wojciech Rubinowicz Prize of the Polish Physical Society. He was in charge of many international and Polish research projects. Currently, he is the coordinator of ERC Advanced Grant. Poetry is his hobby.