This one’s for the physicists

Yesterday I loaded up my Prius with books, computers, bedsheets, a garbage bag full of underwear, and a summer student named Eyal Dechter, and we drove for twelve hours from Waterloo to MIT. This drive, while historic, was largely uneventful; the main obstacle we encountered along the way was the state of New York. Still, it was good to have someone around to share the driving, argue about the survival prospects of the human race, and point out when I left my parking brake on.

In return for helping deliver me to my new job alive, Eyal asked for just one thing: a list of papers in quantum computing and information that make explicit connections to foundational issues in physics, connections that even a physicist could recognize as such. (If we allowed implicit connections, we’d have to include pretty much every quantum computing paper ever written.)

There are many requests I can’t satisfy, but this isn’t one of them.

[AbramsLloyd] [AharonovJonesLandau] [Bacon] [BlumeKohoutHayden] [BriegelRaussendorf] [CavesFuchsSchack] [vanDam] [FarhiEtAl] [FreedmanKitaevWang] [Fuchs] [GottesmanPreskill] [Hardy] [Hardy] [KitaevMayersPreskill] [LiuChristandlVerstraete] [Lloyd] [Nielsen] [Smolin] [Spekkens] [TerhalDiVincenzo] [TonerBacon] [Vidal]


  1. The above list was produced by a rigorous selection process, which consisted of listing 21 papers that popped into my head. If I missed your favorite, tell me.
  2. I deliberately excluded papers that try to sugarcoat esoteric complexity theorems no one would care about otherwise, by throwing around ill-digested physics buzzwords that the author probably saw in a pop-science magazine (for example, [A.] [A.] [A.] [A.] [A.-Ambainis]).

11 Responses to “This one’s for the physicists”

  1. rrtucci Says:

    I would also tell Eyal that attraction to a paper is like attraction to a book or a movie (or a woman)—highly personal. Sure, there are books and movies and women that most would consider exceptionally good, but they are quite rare.

  2. Scott Says:

    rr: My usual rule for sexist jokes is that they should at least be funny. 🙂

  3. rrtucci Says:

    You want funny…take this

  4. Nick Ernst Says:

    Behold, a treasure trove! Thanks Scott, and Eyal.

  5. rrtucci Says:

    more sexist funny

  6. gasguzzler Says:

    Prius? You own a measly Prius? What’s with those hybrid
    cars man? You’re an MIT Professor now. Get something
    that suits your status. Get a Hummer!!

  7. Scott Says:

    Funny, I don’t see a lot of MIT professors driving Hummers… 🙂

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Funny, I don’t see a lot of MIT professors driving Hummers…

    True story: I was once picked up at an airport in California by a Jewish mathematician with a Ph.D from Berkeley…in his Hummer!

    I gave up steretyping for good after that…

  9. rrtucci Says:

    Anonymous, here is a Jewish sexist joke that features a Hummer

    Jakob is this Hasidic Jew that is close to thirty-five years old and still single. Reaching such a late age without being married is frowned upon by the Hasidim. Jakob’s parents are very worried so they call a marriage broker for help. After searching carefully his list of female prospects, the marriage broker recommends a woman named Rachel. He says: Rachel is wonderful, her ancestors are one of the oldest Hasidic families, her parents are well off and very pious, she is younger than you and quite attractive. A good cook. Wants to have many children. Oy, what more can you ask for, my son? She even drives a Hummer. After the marriage broker has gone on for several minutes praising Rachel, Jakob starts getting impatient and says: Okay, Okay, I get the picture… but tell me… is she good in bed? The matchmaker thinks about it for about twenty seconds, and then replies: Well… some say yes… some say no.

    (I heard this joke on NPR…honest dinkum, God’s truth)

  10. mick Says:

    Congrats on making the move Scott. I just made the move to the UK over the weekend. I hate hate hate hate hate packing!

  11. Scott Says:

    Mick: Congrats on your move! Unpacking is better.