Quantum physics and why you should know more about it

By Arnab Mukherjee | Published on Nov 30 2016
Quantum physics and why you should know more about it

Quantum research is more relevant to our lives than you may think, says Quantum Researcher Boaz Almog

Whenever we hear the word ‘Quantum’, for e.g quantum physics, or quantum computing, the first impression that comes to our mind is that it is a far off aspect of science and technology that has no possible relation or relevance in our everyday life. While that may have been true in its initial days, Quantum Research has advanced to a point where it has the potential to affect numerous aspects of our everyday life. Take Quantum levitation, for example. It is a method of levitation based on quantum physics and magnetism that has the potential to change transportation as we know it. We discuss such possibilities and more with Boaz Almog, Quantum Researcher and speaker at TEDx Gateway 2016, Mumbai.

Digit: Quantum levitation by itself is amazing beyond words and its applications seem to be enormous. On the other hand, your BRIXO project is a brilliant tool to teach young kids about getting their hands on experience with technology. In bridging the gap between the former and the latter, as in, these kids playing with quantum physics someday, what role do you think technology has to play?

Boaz: I think that both Quantum Levitation (QL) and BRIXO are meant to get kids excited about science and technology. BRIXO addresses technological knowledge (electricity, engineering, mechanics) while QL brings the most cutting edge science to the classroom. Together they are examples of what our modern education must look like in terms of techniques and topics, if we want our kids to be proficient at STEM (and maybe become the next generation of scientists & engineers).

Digit: Mostly when we talk about quantum research in technology, the topic of quantum computing comes up. Can you tell us about other areas that quantum physics will change drastically?

Boaz: Quantum physics is usually thought of as a deep scientific subject that has no application in our lives. This is not the case, although the implementation of Quantum Physics is sometimes more difficult to accomplish. These are areas where Quantum Physics is slowly penetrating:

  • Energy. Production of energy (solar cells are quantum creatures for example), transferring energy (using superconductors like the ones in the QL demo)
  • Medicine (e.g. MRI machines use Superconductors to image the body)
  • Computer (Quantum computers use Quantum bits, Qbits, as the basic information unit)
  • Materials (designing new materials like superhydrophobic materials using nanostructures, meta-materials - material that we can tailor their behaviour by controlling their nanostructure and more)
  • Transportation (Quantum Levitation) 

Digit: Is quantum technology something just for the labs or can it solve any real world problems that we face right now?

Boaz: Definitely, something that will gradually come out of the lab. We already see numerous uses for quantum mechanics in fields like - energy (manufacturing, storing), computing, materials. 

Digit: Being a quantum researcher, what inspires you to work?

Boaz: By bringing Quantum Mechanics to the hands of kids, students and thereby changing their perspective about our world is the most striking inspiration I have. I think most of us are limited in our thoughts because we were born, raised and educated in what we conceive as a classical world (Newtonian world). But it’s only a small part of it. If we want to continue the incredible advancement we’ve achieved so far in science and technology we need to change the baseline, start thinking Quantum Physics from the early age and get used to modern concepts and ideas.

Arnab Mukherjee

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