These quotes come from John Preskill of Caltech's physics department
(and director of their Center for the Physics of Information, which
was generous enough to hire me as a postdoc for a couple years).
The course in which they occurred was Physics/Computer Science 219
(Quantum Computation) taught in Fall 2005 (a) and then Winter 2006 (b)
at Catech.
10/28/05:
"Bell had to discover that von Neumann was full of crap."
"[laughs] I get so confused by this subject." (this was the lecture
on classical vs quantum regions for states)
"The norm follows immediately from the definition that I just erased."
11/02/05:
"This polytope has a quite complicated geometry in general. [Preskill
tries to draw a generic polytope.] See, I can't even draw it, it's so
complicated."
"I'm not even talking about quantum mechanics yet. That's ok---what I
said was right."
"The ions are only 10 microns apart. [Preskill draws a figure
representing them.] They're actually closer than I just drew them."
11/04/05:
"I don't know. Maybe this didn't help you understand teleportation,
but it works for me."
02/03/06:
"This won't go on too much longer." (on a brief number theory interlude)
02/17/06:
"Say you have only four friends --- or only four girlfriends, which is
better." (the TA, Panos Aliferis, substituting for Preskill)
02/22/06:
"The answer, as usual in complexity theory, is that it doesn't imply
anything."
02/24/06:
"... which is what I told you last time when I was on the phone with
Rachel." (there's a funny story behind this)
"It kind of smells like it could be a bit of a miracle that NP
problems could be solved by quantum computation... Sometimes you just
smelling something."
"Yeah, well gravity is a tricky one."
03/03/06:
Student: "So today is the last lecture?" (after Preskill just wrote
that on the board)
Preskill: "Yes, and you're lucky to be here."
"But we want to talk about this version of the problem because that's
what this case is all about, isn't it?"