Bryan Sanctuary


B.Sc. (University of British Columbia, 1967)
Ph.D. (University of British Columbia, 1971)
Postdoctoral Fellow (U. of Leiden, The Netherlands, 1972-74)

Office: 224
Phone: (514)398-6930
Email: Bryan.Sanctuary [at] McGill.CA
Web Page: TBA

Research Themes:

Chemical Physics

Research Description:

Undergraduate teaching:

Text eBook: Physical Chemistry by Laidler, Meiser and Sanctuary Publish 2011.


Introductory chemistry for high school
General chemistry for AP programs and college
Introductory physics, non-calculus for high school
General physics, calculus for AP programs and college
Organic chemistry at the college level

All the above have hundreds of interactions, between 6 to 8 hours of short voice comments to help explain the material, and each comprise between 100 and 200 hours of individual student study.

Yahoo Answers

See my personal web page for movies of spin and a description of my interests into physical chemistry and my blog on the foundation of quantum mechanics which also includes entries about physical chemistry:

Web Page: Sanctuary Group
Blog: Foundations of Quantum Mechanics and Physical Chemistry
Multimedia: Science tutorials


Foundations of quantum mechanics and physical chemistry.

Quantum mechanics is one of the greatest achievements of modern physics but has led to a lot of confusion. This has to do primarily with the interpretation of quantum mechanics and not with its successful application to many practical problems. However the interpretation of quantum mechanics is important for two main reasons: first a theory without interpretation is only logic, or mathematics. All physical theories must be interpreted. Second, incorrect interpretations lead to incorrect conclusions and paradoxes. There are no paradoxes in science, only wrong interpretations.

The major issue, which was raised by Einstein in 1935, was “Does quantum mechanics give a complete description of Nature?”  In the usual interpretations, because of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, it is found that QM cannot describe observables that do not commute. That is if position is measured, then momentum does not exist.

Einstein showed that in fact position and momentum are simultaneously elements of reality, and since QM cannot describe both, then QM must be incomplete.

However Einstein made the reasonable assumption of “locality”: when two particles are far away from each other, they do not interact.  However in 1964 John Bell showed that when entangled particles are far apart, they appear to remain correlated.  This introduced the notion of “non-locality”.  This concept is now firmly entrenched in physics but is not understood.

The goal of my research over the past 18 years has been to try to resolve non-locality which makes little physical sense. 

So far my research has led to a new formulation of spin having a 2D structure.  This goes against the usual point particle description of spin, so such a change must not only be consistent with usual spin, but must also provide a means of resolving non-locality.

To do this it is necessary to reproduce the experimental data which is interpreted as supporting non-locality, but this has been difficult to do for two reasons:

·        First it is not known how to turn the probability that spin is up or down, into an actual “click” on a photomultiplier.

·        Second, it is possible to get the quantum results in a completely classical way by missing certain events.  This is called the “detection loophole” and a large experimental effort is underway to close this loophole

My current push is to learn how to obtain the experimental clicks and try to obtain the quantum result without missing any events due to the “detection loophole”.


Currently Teaching:

CHEM 203 Survey of Physical Chemistry 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

CHEM 233 Topics in Physical Chemistry 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer