Paulo H. S. Ribeiro, known to everyone as Paulão, is one of the most important figures for the quantum information community in Brazil. Paulão is the head (the arm, the leg, the heart!) of the Quantum Optics Laboratory at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. His lab draws from close collaboration with the theoretical part of the quantum information group at UFRJ to be one of most well known groups in Brazil and worldwide.
Actually, one of the “secrets” of the quantum info group at UFRJ is that there is no such sharp distinction between theory and experiment. Of course at the end of the day there are those who will go align the mirrors and detectors, and those who will solve integrals and apply Cauchy-Schwartz whereever they can, but most of the times they are all mingled together, and the discussions fly high!
I can say that from first eye witness, as I did my PhD in this group. It was really exciting for a kid like me (at that time, at least) to be able to take part and contribute to the design of an experiment where we saw for the first time the dynamics of entanglement in an open quantum system in a very controlled way (article here). I still remember one day when I was showing Paulão the results we were getting for a two-qubits tomography and which were giving strange results. Paulão, without caring too much about my fancy Mathematica program for tomography, asked me to see the raw data file. These were just a bunch of numbers, I thought, with no real meaning… but for Paulão these numbers are the real thing, and he immediately realized that those results were not possible and suggested to swap two columns. When I did what he suggested, the reconstruction just popped out exactly as we expected. I couldn’t hold my self and shouted at Paulão: “Vai tomar no %$#” (something like “go f#$% yourself”), to which I immediately apologized, but that was out of a profound feeling of respect (and envy, I must confess) for his knowledge and understanding how things really work (this repeated many times, and still does, but I can hold myself better nowadays). We went back to the lab with Marcelo and Stephen and realized that we indeed had mixed up the label of some basis elements. After performing the experiment again, all results were perfect. Below is a picture I got during the realization of this experiment.
From left to right: Stephen Walborn, Marcelo P. Almeida, Paulão, and Luiz Davidovich. Experimental setup to measure the entanglement dynamics for an open quantum system.
I should emphasize that Paulão didn’t get the lab ready for him to “just” work out his ideas. He built everything from scratch. And I have the feeling that this is what he likes to do: to get a lab just starting and build it into a world class research facility. That might explain why he’s now moving from Rio (leaving the Lab at Steve’s very capable hands) to Florianópolis. I’m sure we won’t stop hearing from Paulão and his accomplishments… and we have a great excuse to go to Floripa every now and then!
It is thus more than timing that we invite Paulão for a colloquium at CBPF. It’s both an opportunity to learn once more from Paulão, and to thank him for being such unstoppable force pushing the Physics of (all) Brazil to ever better levels. See the information about Paulão’s colloquium below, and be sure to show up!
Thank you Paulão!!
(P.s.: If you have any story involving Paulão that you want/can share, or just want to thank him, please leave a comment below!)
Palestrante: Paulo Henrique Souto Ribeiro (UFRJ)
Título: Experimentos com Fótons Gêmeos: dos Fundamentos da Mecânica Quântica à Termodinâmica Quântica
Coordenadas: 30.09, 16h no auditório do 6º andar – CBPF
Resumo: Os fótons gêmeos produzidos na conversão paramétrica descendente espontânea foram produzidos pela primeira vez no início dos anos 1970. Inicialmente foram observadas correlações entre eles, das quais a correlação temporal é a mais marcante e leva à denominação “gêmeos” para o par de fótons. Eles possuem correlações quânticas naturais em seus graus de liberdade espaciais e de energia e tempo, podendo ser também preparados em estados emaranhados de polarização. Esta é a fonte de estados emaranhados mais simples e versátil que se conhece até hoje. Com estes pares de fótons e suas propriedades quânticas sem análogo clássico, foram feitos experimentos para estudar os fundamentos da Mecânica Quântica, testar algoritmos quânticos, implementar esquemas de computação e comunicação quântica e mais recentemente para a simulação de outros sistemas quânticos. Neste caso, eles começam a ter utilidade para o estudo da chamada Termodinâmica Quântica. Neste seminário, será feito um breve resumo das principais aplicações de fótons gêmeos e discutiremos experimentos recentes realizados na UFRJ para estudar correlações quânticas e para simulação de sistemas quânticos, abordando alguns aspectos termodinâmicos.