John Jeffers


JA 7.03, Department of Physics,
University of Strathclyde,
107 Rottenrow,
Glasgow, G4 0NG, U.K.

Telephone: +44 141 548 3457
Fax: +44 141 552 2891

Research Interests

John Jeffers studied for his BSc (Hons) in Physics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, and his PhD in Theoretical Physics at the University of Essex, under the supervision of Prof. Rodney Loudon FRS and Dr. T.J. Shepherd (at the Royal Signals Radar Establishment in Malvern), on travelling-wave quantum optics. Both academic institutions have since closed their Physics Departments, and RSRE was privatised. The most important point to take away from this is that you should not under any circumstances give him another degree. He came to Strathclyde as a postdoc. He became a Lecturer in 2001 and is currently a Professor, so mostly absent. He was once Departmental Postgraduate Tutor, Research Director and coordinator for UoA9 (Physics) in the 2014 REF.

He mostly does quantumy things in Hilbert space, but sometimes classical things too. He is a member of two of EPSRC’s Quantum Technology Hubs which were set up as part of the excellent UK National Programme in Quantum Technology to try to make qwidgets for the benefit of the nation. He does not know everything about beam splitters.

He currently lectures PH151 Mechanics, Waves and Optics and PH557 Advanced Topics in Theoretical Physics.

Some Quotes, and some quotes within quotes:

On Mathematics

Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house. ” – Robert Heinlein, Time Enough For Love

On the purpose of education and, by extension, scientific research

The former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said studying Physics was a “waste of my time, waste of my teacher’s time and a waste of space

” … The above discussion assumes education is about job training. It totally is not (well, at least I don’t think so). Education is about being human. Let me go ahead and include my favorite Robert Heinlein quote:

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.”

And I agree. We study these things (art, history, music, literature, and yes science) because that is what makes us human. Will studying these things make us better at our jobs? This is a Feynman quote:

“Physics is like sex: sure, it may give some practical results, but that’s not why we do it.”

So, in that regard Lott is wrong. Science and Maths are no more a waste of time than a fine wine or enjoying the sunshine on a bright sunny day. Humans. Go figure.”

From Rhett Allain

On Football, and Life

The great fallacy is that the game is first and last about winning. It is nothing of the kind. The game is about glory, it is about doing things in style and with a flourish.” – Danny Blanchflower

On Aquatic Sport

In the future there will be no swimming – only WATER POLO ” – anonymous t-shirt slogan

On Time

When planning a task remember that the first 10% of the task takes 90% of the time required to perform the task. The middle 80% of the task also takes 90%. Finishing the task takes up the final 90% of the time.  Also, see Hofstadter’s law. The above is especially true of writing scientific articles, and even more so of writing PhD theses.