Thursday, May 25, 2017


We are coming into the home stretch and have at least two theory papers in the works with our collaborators for USTC as co-authors. One Physical Review A article on quantum metrology has been resubmitted. One Physical Review Letters article we are discussing the response to the referees. 

Responding to the referees.
Tomorrow is my last day and we'll hammer out a game plan for modelling the USTC boson-sampling experiment. Collaborations between Louisiana State University, NYU Shanghai, and the University of Science and Technology of China are underway! Alas I depart 4:10PM SAT27MAY Shanghai time for my 20 hour flight to Baton Rouge via Dallas. I arrive at the DFW airport at 4:45PM SAT27MAY — only 35 minutes after I took off! Gotta love that International Dateline! Then I get about 24 hours rest before I board my flight 9:03AM MON29MAY in Baton Rouge to begin my 24-hour flight to Okinawa!

A recap in photos of yesterday and today where I have commandeered the camera to show we actually work all day!

I knight you Sir
José Eduardo Cejudo Grano de Oro
The Qubit Cowboy!
(El Caballero Qubit!)
Don't Panic. Carry on.
Tim and USTC PhD student Zuen Su.

The pointer is mightier than the pen!

At the other Middle Eastern Restaurant — Shally Lally!

"It's not a REAL party until somebody starts talking about delta functions?"

LSU-USTC-NYU collaboration!
More traditional fold dancing to the music of Shakira.
(The hips may lie?)
A boy named Su!
Chenglong is happy to be back in his home country!

"No! No! No! I'm NOT marrying the HACKER!" --- Eric Song

Monday, May 22, 2017


Quantum thermodynamics: The fridge in my hotel room is contained in an
airtight box and food placed in it actually gets hotter and not colder.

My name in Chinese in Starbucks.
Today Tim's group hosted Mile Gu and his postdoc Jayne, from the Center for Quantum Technologies, at the National University of Singapore, and they both gave some quite interesting lectures on a quantum theory of the quantum version of the barbed arrow of time, which Gu calls, "Occam's Vorpal Quantum Razor: Memory Reduction When Simulating Continuous-Time Stochastic Processes With Quantum Devices." (And I had thought I'd cornered the market on buzzwords?) The idea is that you can model the arrow of time with a simple Turing-like machine and a few simple assumptions allows you to tell the past from the future.

Today was also my Co-PhD student's last day in Shanghai before heading home, and she presented Tim and I with roses in thanks of her time here. Prof. Gu was a bit confused and asked, "Do you have this rose ceremony at ALL of your group meetings?"

Dancing the Quantum Fandango
Then after the talks, in honor of Prof. Gu, off we went to a Chinese hot-pot restaurant where they seat you around a boiling cauldron and bring you meat and vegetables to boil for yourself for dinner. The roses accompanied us for the rest of the night but began to show their age as the festivities progressed. 

The pot is hot.
Chenglong won't sit down.
Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble.
One side makes you spicy
And one side makes you bland
And the middle ones fuwuyuan give you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When Bob's ten feet tall...
Tim and I woo the Meat Lady with our roses.

Mile Gu gets the last rose standing.
A rose by any other name would smell sweet?

The Book of James - Musings from Dr. Dowling

Since these seem very popular here are the quotes the students collected from PHYS 7212, "Advanced Mathematical Methods for Physicists II," which I taught in the Spring Semester of 2016. The required book was:

 Elements of Green's Functions and Propagation: Potentials, Diffusion, and Waves
Gabriel Barton
Oxford University Press (1989) and Reprinted (2005)
ISBN13: 9780198519980, ISBN10: 0198519982

"The only good theorist is a lazy theorist. I just need to know how to set it up and turn the crank."

"That's the purpose of this course; to convert your nightmares into dreams."

"Like ancient Egypt, we write on walls and worship cats."

"You poor pathetic little man; do you find no joy in anything?"

"Zero dimensional children are very ill behaved."

I was making fun of the engineers; they deserve it."

"Cat on a hot tin roof; you can solve that depending on the cat."

"How much time am I going to torture you with that? A while."

"This looks like bullshit! There are no calculations at all!"

"My lucky number for today is -3pi/4."

"Somewhere in your brain, the voice of Dowling will come back to haunt you."

"I draw my potato."

"Now that you know what a propagator is, you can go out to the swamp, catch it, and cook it."

"You're learning little tit-bits of wisdom from Dowling the Great."

"Be prepared to have your mind numbed."

"Wrrwhhahaaa; the mating call of a Siberian musk ox."

"I'm glad I don't have that job; there'd be a lot of dead people."

"It's too tempting not to [torture your students]"

"We're going to work on this continuously until one of us drops dead or the end of class."

"I have a note: Barton should be shot."

"Good ol' Barton; Savior of Mankind."

"q/sqrt(2*pi), my lucky number."

"It's a really simple formula; you can use it over and over and impress your friends at parties."

"You will believe."

"Armagnac is better than cognac because it's cheaper."

"Sometimes people look like another person and I just assign them a name."

"[clicking tongue] Why I'm making clicking noises, I don't know."

"Barton is basically Jesus."

"I'm in a superposition of shooting [Barton] and not shooting him."

"3D is a little more complicated because it's three dimensions."

"32pi, my lucky number for the day."

"I just can't get excited about exploding balloons."

"Onward through the frog."

"Delta functions means I can do the integrals without any nightmares."

"This is going to plague your miserable existences."

"I will prove that the sky is blue."

"I'm getting lazier and lazier."

"Looking at this equation, we can immediately conclude the sky is blue."

"You could take any random talk at the AAAS meeting, replace all the words with 'chicken' and people wouldn't notice."

"Half of Barton doesn't make sense."

"This was known to bees and vikings."

"What we're going to do now is a little bit horrific."

"His name is Mr. Cow."

"What am I doing? Good question. It all made sense once upon a time."

"Crossing one eye is a trick Krystal and gecko's share. I can do it too!"

"The reason they're jealous ... I bring in more money than God."

"I like gloating."

"You can already see this is going to be a nightmare."

"This is the first and last time in your poor pathetic little lives you'll see this derived. Your lives are poor and pathetic because you have to see this derived."

"It's not a hard calculation like group theory; it just requires you keep track of your twiddles."

"[blows a raspberry] There's my retro-rockets. [blows again]. I worked at J.P.L."

"It's basically a torturous exercise working on the train rule."

"I was actually doing this without any wine."

"Good ol' vector hanky-panky."

"Today you can either write off as a complete loss or..."

"If it's tedious for Barton, you know it's gonna be rough."

"I spent a lot of time on antenna theory; my wasted youth."

"12 pi, my lucky number today."

"I don't have the heart to start chapter 13. That would be unlucky."

"The chances I can find my typos from 20 years ago is very small. That's your job now."

"Is it so bad that my jokes aren't even funny anymore?"

"Satan has a polarizer."

"You have to have a smart viking... Satan with a light-bulb."

"My brain says 'Don't tweet this; the dean might not like it.' "

"I like starting fights."

"My life has been very strange."

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Another year, another edition of... THINGS Jonathan P. Dowling SAYS IN CLASS:

You can’t see day with the lights off.

Don’t ever ask a Dutch person to pronounce Huygens because they will spit on you.

Infinity minus infinity equals negative twelve. We will prove this rigorously.

Only when Dowling the Great teaches this course does the second semester run, because I am ever popular.

What we proved here by eyeball in two lines, I reproved here by eyeball in 26 lines.

In D.C. there was a bank robber, John Dillinger. When they asked why he robbed banks, he said that’s where the money is. When they ask me why I go to D.C., that’s why… to rob banks.

Depending on who you ask, there is either infinite energy or zero energy.

What I’m going to do now is strike fear into your young hearts.
Hold on my phone just made a weird sound…(checks phone)… 30 seconds to impact.

I’ll torture you only a slight amount.

I’ll give the half-ass proof. The zero-ass or full-ass proof requires much more work.

In quantum optics we brush the infinities under the rug at the beginning. In QED you stare at the infinities for a while then brush them under the rug at the end.

I can do whatever I want because someone will complain no matter what.

This is standard procedure, which means you don’t question it and just do it.

Aha! Three is equal to three!

It’s not mysterious, it’s optics!

The density operator allows you to combine all that is horrible about QM and all that is horrible about stat mech into horrible squared. But if horrible is less than one, that is an improvement.

My goal this semester will be to get … what’s his name… to laugh.

Whenever you see something you don’t like, put a hat on it.

What color is math? Math is purple.

Limbo is like heaven, but you don’t get to see the face of God.

Hell will come sooner than you expect, but not right now.

I want to give some more meat to the blob.

Teaching is the science of ever-improving lies.

This should be familiar from statistical mechanics, or S&M as we used to call it.

The point of physics is to embarrass yourself over and over again until you just don’t care anymore.

There’s actually a journal of irreproducible results. I submitted a paper there and it got rejected. I’m not sure if I should be happy or upset.

I’m on antibiotics and decongestants. I can literally hear the boogers popping in my head. It’s delightful.

He didn’t have a computer so he used a pyramid of male hair dressers.

You have to choose between mentoring, tormentoring, and dementoring.

Never go to third order perturbations unless you hate your own existence and want your life to end.

Beer’s law: if you have too much beer, there is no law. …which was proved by Galois the night before he died in a duel over a prostitute. But that’s another story.

That’s perfect! I need to make it crappy, so I put in a crapization factor.

The sun is not a telegraph.
Now you have known me for several weeks. You know that I lie!

First, LIGO’s laser goes through a mode cleaner. It’s like a vacuum cleaner; cleans up the vacuum.

They’re just beamsplitters! Everything is BS in this course, which you should have learned on day one.

Your grade this semester will depend on whether or not you register for next semester.

Now this is up to convention which means it varies from book to book and also that I will do random things from class to class depending on how I feel.

The whole point of the previous discussion was to prevent that question in the first place. Please go back in time and don’t ask that question.

Jon:…we have to start off easy because you can still drop the class until Monday.
Student: We can still drop the class today, you know
Jon: I can still not sign your paychecks for another year when the grant runs out

We have a lot of sandwiches. It’s time to go to lunch. We have to knock off some of these sandwiches. …but if you have trouble just turn one sandwich into two sandwiches and then you’re less hungry.

We use the regular rotation matrix that you will recall from kindergarten.

This is simple, it’s just Pac-man sandwiches.

The phase-state is an infinitesimally thin, and infinitely long slice of phase pizza. It’s not known whether it’s filling or not.

…n-bar is this function, which could be anything since you can’t read it.

[long story about making soap chips back into bars by placing them in plastic containers to be microwaved]

When you make a sandwich, you have to—tediously—pull something interesting out of it.

We’re going to start with the half-ass theory, then move to the quarter-ass theory, on to the one-sixteenth ass theory and so on until the no ass theorem, which I assume is the best.

I feel like I was run over by a truck, and then people dumped coffee on me.

Saturday, May 20, 2017


As promised the highlight of the week was visiting the labs of Profs. C.-Y. Lu and J.-W. Pan at USTC Shanghai. Prof. Lu was our gracious host.

LSU-NYU-USTC Collaboration!

Upon arrival, me, Tim Byrnes, and students Chenglong You, Sushovit Adhikari, and Naeime Mohseni, watch some slides and videos of the satellite in action including the pointing and tracking carried out by several laser beams.We then gave a presentation on our latest results on quantum metrology.

 Chinese quantum satellite in action — pointing and tracking. 
Red goes up from ground and green comes from satellite.

  Chenglong explains quantum metrology and we propose a new experiment.

The satellite is able to carry our Earth to Space quantum cryptography as well as distributing entanglement to remote round stations as tests of quantum theory over large distances. Apparently the satellite is responding much better than anticipated and they will publish data soon.

I had promised the students we would see the duplicate of the quantum Chinese satellite Mozi, but when we went into the satellite assembly room in quite a funny moment Prof. Lu threw up his hands and yelled, “WHERE IS THE SATELLITE!?” Apparently it had been moved to a new location the night before.

 Where is the satellite!? Chenglong "The Photo Bomber" (left) and Prof. Lu (right).

 What it looked like before it went missing.

After losing the satellite we had a tour of the cold-atom labs and then the photonics lab where LSU is collaborating with USTC on experiments on boson-sampling-inspired quantum metrology. The experiments are finished so expect exciting results soon. 

Sodium lasers cool and trap the atoms. Chenglong bombs the photo.
Lab tour at USTC: Chenglong, Sushovit, Tim.
The boson sampler in action. The foggy plate is an all optical quantum computer.
Lasers the run the show.

They won't let me push any buttons!
Then after the lab tours we were all invited to a nice dinner by Prof. Lu and we toasted to future collaborations — Gānbēi!

The stuff in the glasses is maotai which was used to fuel the rocket that launched the satellite.