27 September

posted Oct 3, 2016, 3:32 PM by Amherst Club   [ updated Nov 8, 2019, 11:45 AM ]
 President Gigi Barnhill was called away from hosting today’s meeting and tapped Therese Donohue, Club Treasurer, to serve in her stead.  Therese called the meeting to order at 12:50 pm.

Therese announced that the Club’s experimental, twice-monthly meetings would reign during the coming quarter, Oct. 1 through Dec. 31.  We will meet on the second & fourth Tuesdays at Bistro 63.  In October, that will be the 11th and 25th.

Therese asked for volunteers to host ‘tweener Tuesday bag lunches at their homes during the coming quarter.  Nancy Brose will host one on Oct. 18, and Jean Miller will host another in November, date to be decided.  Would someone like to host a bag lunch in December?

Phyllis Lehrer announced that the Renaissance Center’s free Wednesday afternoon lectures begin Sept. 28th and continue for 4 additional weeks.

       Phyllis announced the Hitchcock Center opening celebration that will be held at its new site on the Hampshire College campus on Sat., Oct. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., free.

       Phyllis acknowledged the fabulous talk by Bonnie Isman on the Dewey Decimal System last Friday at the Amherst Historical Society.

       For her last announcement today, Phyllis raised kudos to Lois Barber for designing the winning NPR coffee mug for 2017.

Surinder Mehta then passed around the sample of his design for NPR’s coffee mug contest of 2016, which, though it did not win top prize, was nevertheless roundly applauded by today’s lunch goers.

Nancy Brose conveyed our former waitperson Melanie’s gratitude for the cash gift our members put together in recognition of Melanie’s exemplary service to us at Bistro 63.

Claude Tellier announced that the Cambodian Water Project’s annual fundraiser will be held at Pulpit Hill Co-housing on Oct. 8 at 5:30 p.m.  A delicious Cambodian dinner is the evening’s highlight.  The Project’s fiscal sponsor, PDF, this year celebrates the long life and effective work of this group, which over 13 years has raised more than $100,000.

In light of Amherst’s water ban, Tina Berins asked for a vote on prepouring water at our luncheon tables, with or without ice.  Our waitperson, Patrick, will do whatever we wish.  It was decided that glasses would continue to be set on tables and that water with ice would be poured only for those who request it.

Jacquie Price asked that anyone wanting to become a Renaissance Center docent during any of the four available time slots contact her.  Docents spend 2 hours once a week during the UMass academic year, providing a presence in the Main Reading Room to deter any precious materials from marching out the door of this public facility.

Philippe Galaski introduced today’s speaker, Herbert J. Bernstein.  A Fellow of the American Physical Society, Dr. Bernstein is professor of theoretical physics at Hampshire College and inaugurator of the College’s Institute for Science.  Dr. Bernstein and the Institute of Science have tackled biological issues such as an aquaculture project in the Ecuadorian Amazon for the Secoya Indians, as well as physical issues such as the military waste clean-up at Westover Air Base, a pioneering effort that inspired work all over the United States.

Today’s talk, titled “SuperDense Quantum Teleportation:  NASA’s Entry in the Newest (3-way) Mini-Space Race,” focused on two areas:  1. what this teleportation is, and 2. why it is important to NASA.  Dr. Bernstein explained that old ways of “knowing” are becoming obsolete as new ways of transporting knowledge are being developed.  One new way is the delivery of knowledge via quantum teleportation.  The basic unit of quantum information is the polarization of a single photon.  It is characterized by the angle of polarization.  Your polarized sun glasses, for example, layer millions of photons vertically.  A simple way of perceiving quantum teleportation is to picture rotating those polarized sun glasses at an angle that captures a single photon, or particle, and imagine transmitting that single photon carrying information to a destination.  The angle of polarization is its quantum information.

NASA, always interested in orders of magnitude, is vested in Dr. Bernstein and the Institute’s seminal work in quantum teleportation of information because of its superdense properties.  In this context, “SuperDense” refers to the order of magnitude of the transmission of knowledge.  Previous transmission delivered information using the binary model of ones and zeros (that is, just two points on a single axis).  As a result of his development of sending out and decoding knowledge by using three axes (x, y, and z), the amount of quantum information can be increased by a Factor of 2, a major first step toward NASA’s ultimate goal of multiplying transmission of information by a Factor of 10.  Dr. Bernstein thus explained that this superdense quantum teleportation allows a maximum amount of information to travel to its destination via a minimum of data-bearing bytes.
(My thanks to Professor Bernstein, whose edits in the above paragraphs clarified a talk that, for me, at least, introduced a very new language for knowing.)

There was no wine for today’s raffle.  The $10 was won by new member Sylvia Burruto.


Your scribe,

Jacquie Price