• Question: Sum up the latest breakthroughs in quantum physics, and how these affect our everyday lives?

    Asked by blatantlyninja to James, Marcus, Martin, Rob, Suzanne on 19 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Suzanne McEndoo

      Suzanne McEndoo answered on 19 Mar 2012:

      Oooooh, big question. In my area of quantum physics, there has been some really great work in playing with single atoms, being able to move them sensitively enough to make patterns. There have also been some really important (but confusing) discussions about what does the wave particle duality mean and what can we really know about the properties of a particle.

      Obviously, this is waaaaaaaaay far away from affecting our everyday lives, at least for the next 50 years or so.

      In other areas of quantum physics, people work on cryptography (code making), sending better signals for the internet, making better lasers, making new materials and things like that. They would have a big effect on our everyday lives, but I think the guys who do experiments would be able to answer more about that.

    • Photo: Marcus Gallagher-Jones

      Marcus Gallagher-Jones answered on 21 Mar 2012:

      I can’t answer that I’m afraid as I’m not a quantum physicist (and yet I’m in the quantum zone go figure). I guess my work is not relevant to everyday life, yet. Hopefully in the future when experiments at the facility I work in become routine they’ll be used to develop new materials or decipher the structure of new proteins to make new drugs.

    • Photo: Martin Zaltz Austwick

      Martin Zaltz Austwick answered on 23 Mar 2012:

      It’s been a while since I was a quantum physicist, but quantum computers have the potential to speed up certain areas of science by making simulation much, much faster. That hasn’t happened yet, but fingers crossed.