Quantum mechanics, what is it good for?
Dr. Mike Goggin | | 2018-02-06 | 7pm | MG 1000
Quantum mechanics is notorious for being weird and nonintuitive. It is perhaps surprising then that it is also a powerful tool. A quantum computer has the potential to solve problems that are beyond the capability of any classical computer that could be built. Quantum cryptography is a method for encoding messages in such a way that is, in principle, unbreakable. Both of these technological advances take advantage of the “weirdness” of quantum phenomena. The canonical example of quantum weirdness is the so-called wave-particle duality of a photon, especially as expressed in the double-slit experiment. I will use the wave-particle duality of the photon as a starting point to present an explanation of quantum weirdness in its simplest form by considering quantum states that can only take on two different values. I will then explain quantum entanglement and how to use it for quantum cryptography. To finish, I will indicate why a quantum computer has the potential to be more powerful than a classic computer.