Brainy Quote of the Day

Friday, February 16, 2018

To Be, or Not to Be...

Stephanie Wehner is part of the team trying to build a true quantum network across Europe. Credit: Marcel Wogram for Nature

Topics: Internet, Quantum Computer, Quantum Mechanics, Schrödinger’s cat, Theoretical Physics, Women in Science

Cultural reference: Hamlet, Act III, scene I.

The sobering part is, Europe will likely build a quantum Internet before us, China will commercialize clean energy; everywhere else will have MAGLEV (magnetic levitation) bullet trains that go 200 mph (while we're stuck with the ones that fatally crash at 80), our bridges, railroads and general infrastructure crumbling (toll road taxed to death) from a malignant narcissist, political amateur conman's claim of being "great again."

Before she became a theoretical physicist, Stephanie Wehner was a hacker. Like most people in that arena, she taught herself from an early age. At 15, she spent her savings on her first dial-up modem, to use at her parents’ home in Würzburg, Germany. And by 20, she had gained enough street cred to land a job in Amsterdam, at a Dutch Internet provider started by fellow hackers.

A few years later, while working as a network-security specialist, Wehner went to university. There, she learnt that quantum mechanics offers something that today’s networks are sorely lacking — the potential for unhackable communications. Now she is turning her old obsession towards a new aspiration. She wants to reinvent the Internet.

The ability of quantum particles to live in undefined states — like Schrödinger’s proverbial cat, both alive and dead — has been used for years to enhance data encryption. But Wehner, now at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and other researchers argue that they could use quantum mechanics to do much more, by harnessing nature’s uncanny ability to link, or entangle, distant objects, and teleporting information between them. At first, it all sounded very theoretical, Wehner says. Now, “one has the hope of realizing it”.

The quantum internet has arrived (and it hasn’t), Davide Castelvecchi, Nature

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