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CQG: Classical Origins for Quantum Tunneling

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Hal Haggard, Bard College
13 February 2018 from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM
320 Whitmore
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Tunneling and its classically forbidden transitions are quintessentially quantum mechanical. Despite these quantum transitions having exponentially small amplitudes they are essential for everything from nuclear decay to modeling the sensitivity of human smell. Most treatments of quantum tunneling deny any role for classical physics whatsoever. While this may be true when classical mechanics is understood in its most restrictive sense, it becomes manifestly false if complex analytic extensions of classical mechanics are considered. This perspective sheds intriguing light on the origins of tunneling and on non-perturbative contributions to the path integral. In this talk I will build up from a simple example to connections with Efimov states, enhanced tunneling of squeezed states, and ambitions to use these tools in the quantum decay of black holes.