Robert Spekkens received his B.Sc. in physics and philosophy from McGill University and completed his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Toronto.  He held a postdoctoral fellowship at Perimeter Institute and an International Royal Society Fellowship at the University of Cambridge.  He has been a faculty member at Perimeter Institute since November 2008.  His research is focused upon identifying the conceptual innovations that distinguish quantum theories from classical theories and investigating their significance for axiomatization, interpretation, and the implementation of various information-theoretic tasks.

Talks by Robert Spekkens

Robert Spekkens: The riddle of the quantum sphinx: quantum states and category mistakes

Robert Spekkens Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

Science is like puzzle-solving. Making sense of quantum theory is a particularly thorny kind of brain-twister, with more than its fair share of mysteries. If you are stuck on a puzzle, it may be because you have made a false assumption about the nature of some entity that is absolutely central to the whole business. If so, you have made a category mistake: you are not just wrong about what this entity is, but about what sort of thing it is.

Experimental implementation of quantum-coherent mixtures of causal relations

Robert Spekkens Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Understanding the causal influences that hold among the parts of a system is critical both to explaining that system's natural behaviour and to controlling it through targeted interventions. In a quantum world, understanding causal relations is equally important, but the set of possibilities is far richer. The two basic ways in which a pair of time-ordered quantum systems may be causally related are by a cause-effect mechanism or by a common cause acting on both. Here, we show that it is possible to have a coherent mixture of these two possibilities.