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Artur Ekert gives radio listeners the low-down on quantum technologies

25 February 2011

In between giving lectures in Ireland this week, CQT's Director Artur Ekert dropped into the studio of radio station Dublin South FM93.9. He was interviewed for science radio show The Red Shift, and the half-hour programme is an excellent listen for anyone wanting to know what quantum technologies are all about— or how to explain them.

Red Shift Dublin South FM93.9 - Artur Ekert - Show link

Artur is often asked to predict the future. To give a taster of the show, here's what he says to his interviewers Harry O' Rahilly and Niamh Wynne about the future usefulness of quantum technologies such as quantum cryptosystems and quantum computers.

"Think about it this way. Let's go back into the 19th Century and suppose you go and interview Charles Babbage. You've heard of this guy who is working on some kind of a computing device and he was putting some mechanical bits and pieces together for some kind of a universal computer. You come to this person and ask look, this looks interesting, very promising, what do you think it will be good for? What will you use it for? And what would he answer? Would he talk about the internet, Facebook, social networks, word processing? Absolutely not. He will just say well, you know, I probably would like to print tables of logarithms without errors. Something very mundane, something very boring, something of that kind.

"So if you ask me this question— what is it good for, how are we going to use quantum technology in the future—I think my imagination is not good enough to tell you all the story."

Listen to the whole podcast and you will also be treated to an explanation of quantum superposition in terms of how losing your keys would be different if your keys were quantum objects, why quantum computers are not just a technical advance and what a good idea it would be to have quantum lego.

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