When you think of quantum technology, you think of quantum computers. Or science fiction, light sabres and half-dead cats. But quantum technology is more than the chase for the quantum computer. The second quantum revolution is about breaking boundaries and taming nature’s smallest building blocks. What emerges is a superlative technology: smaller, faster, safer, more precise. And not to forget: more incomprehensible.
Quantum technology is on everyone’s lips. Boulevard newspapers report on quantum computers under the factual title “Computers will dominate mankind!” In most cases, quantum technology is presented mysteriously, as a product of the future: science fiction. But one point most articles keep quiet about: Quantum technology already exists and we all have it at home.
Today we are talking about latex. Flexible, adapts to any shape, but sometimes a bit uncomfortable, especially for beginners. If you don’t think of black, tight-fitting clothes when you think of latex, you’re definitely a nerd. We are talking about the word processing programme LaTeX – probably the most important and most widely used tool among scientists.
In my series “How to PhD”, I would like to present different aspects of the life of a PhD student, or more generally, a researcher. Who has not studied or done a PhD (yet) has usually little idea of how research actually works. I would like to change that in an entertaining way and in small servings! The focus of this article: flexible working hours.
Sometimes you have to make a choice. Some things you hate, for example, or you love them. Like Brussels sprouts, marzipan or Big Brother. In other cases, you have to take sides: Cats or dogs, Edward or Jacob, wave or particle. But as unlikely as it may sound, sometimes you can be two things at once. Although when this happens in the very foundations of physics, it can start heated discussions. Like at the beginning of the 20th century when Albert Einstein threw light into a deep identity crisis: wave or particle, which is it?
Is Einstein the father of quantum physics? Although most people associate him with the theory of relativity, Einstein made significant contributions to the development of quantum physics. In fact, he received his Nobel Prize in 1921 not for the theory of relativity, but for his explanation of the photoelectric effect – one of the key experiments in quantum physics. And like many discoveries in physics, this one was pure chance.
In my last article, I explained that, deep down, light consists of energy packets – quanta. These are created, for example, when light interacts with atoms, the building blocks of our world. That sounds very daring and raises many questions, some of them deeply philosophical. And while you are racking your brains about it, one question arises: Who actually thought this up?
A quantum of happiness, a quantum leap in technology, Firefox Quantum. Quanta seem to be present in our lives: they have entered common speech, the newspapers are frequently reporting about quantum computers. Yet hardly anyone outside physics knows what quanta actually are.
What better words to start a blog about physics than these? Ok, granted, “Hello World!” comes more from computer science. But as a theoretical physicist, I live at the intersection of physics, math, and computer science, and since it fits so nicely, that will have to do.