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Turn lead into gold?

Yes, it’s possible. But according to Denys Bondar, PhD, that’s beside the point. He’s asking this question: can any substance be made to look like any other one?

Press play to explore the meaning and implications of this and more:

  • How much computing power you can get from shining ‘bright’ light on a single atom
  • How it’s possible to make one element look like another, and why it matters
  • Whether it’s possible for a computer to process information at the speed of light

Bondar is an assistant professor at the Tulane University School of Science & Engineering whose most recent work has been on nonlinear optics. It’s a field of study that describes the behavior of bright light (high-intensity light, like that given off by lasers) in nonlinear substances. He contrasts an explanation of this with an explanation of linear optics, which is observed when everyday light—like that from the lightbulbs in your house—interacts with materials and reflects back to the eye.

Using analogies and metaphors, Bondar discusses these concepts in depth. He also dives into the history of optics, and provides three concrete ways in which nonlinear optics can be applied in the lab and commercially. These include the possibility of computation at the speed of light, and the induction of superconductivity into certain materials.

Tune in for the full conversation and check out to learn more about his work.

Episode also available on Apple Podcasts:


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