• Question: do quantom mechanics change the world

    Asked by skaterman1 to Laura, Nicola, Norman, Thanasis on 19 Mar 2013.
    • Photo: Laura Soul

      Laura Soul answered on 19 Mar 2013:

      Quantum mechanics is a part of the way that the world works, and since we have learnt a bit about it our new knowledge has definitely changed the world. It has been used to understand all sorts of other things and people are working on using knowledge about it to do things like build superfast computers.

    • Photo: Thanasis Georgiou

      Thanasis Georgiou answered on 20 Mar 2013:

      Quantum mechanics has helped us understand how the world behaves on a very tiny length scale. It is a very complicated theory which has many counter-intuitive theorems!

      For example, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle claims that you cannot know both the position or momentum of a particle at a given time.

      Some of my research work exactly evolves around quantum mechanics. I make tiny transistors – which are the basic buiding blocks for electronics – which work because of quantum tunneling. This means that the electrons are able to “tunnel” through barriers that they shouldn’t have been able to cross. It’s analogous to a human being able to jump a 10 metre high wall!

      Other exciting prospects of quantum mechanics which I find very exciting is quantum teleportation. This may sound like science fiction, but it is very much reality. Scientists were able to teleport data over almost 90 miles. Of course, the techniques are still in their very early stages, but teleportation is very much allowed by quantum mechanics and some serious progress is being made in the field! Maybe in the future we might be able to teleport humans, who knows?