Monday 31 March 2008

Schroedinger’s machines

Professor Gerard Milburn


The quantum world is strange: particles act like waves, waves act like particles and a single particle can be in two places at once. While all this stayed in the remote realm of atomic physics, there was little cause for concern. However recent progress in laser physics, nanotechnology and superconductivity is bringing the quantum world to your doorstep, or at least your internet port.

In this talk I will describe how quantum strangeness is being harnessed to develop new technologies, such as using the quantum nature of light to encrypt internet connections and using clouds of atoms, forced into a quantum wave-like state, to detect the motion of molten rocks from an orbiting satellite. Quantum mechanics may be strange but it is how the world works and increasingly it is being put to work in useful, real world technologies.

  • Time: 6:30pm to 7:30pm (Doors open at 6pm)
  • Venue: Ithaca Auditorium, Brisbane City Hall
  • Refreshments: There will be complimentary drinks and nibblies following the talk, and Gerard will be available to answer any questions.
  • Questions? Contact Joel (0411 267 044 or or Nelle (

Gerard Milburn obtained a PhD in theoretical physics in 1982 and has since become a world expert in quantum information theory, currently working at the University of Queensland. He is a member of a number of international advisory committees including the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada. He has authored over 200 papers, and four books – including two non-technical books on quantum technology.