Quantum computers have the potential to shake up finance, cybersecurity and other sectors. But investors hoping to profit from the new technology must be patient – and separate reality from hype.
In 2017, Chinese scientist Juan Yin and her team conducted a unique experiment. Using quantum technology, they linked two photons on a satellite called Micius, then dispatched them to different locations on Earth, thousands of miles apart.
Even across this vast distance, the two photons maintained their connection: when one was observed, the other immediately changed its properties, as if the particles were magically communicating. In scientific parlance, they were entangled.1
Welcome to the weird world of quantum mechanics, where up is down, here is there and the usual laws of physics no longer apply. In the early 20th century, Albert Einstein dismissed entanglement as “spooky action at a distance”, but it is now being observed in laboratories across the world.2 Quantum theory appears to explain the inner workings of the universe, however counterintuitive it may seem in the context of our everyday lives. Spooky indeed.
1 Juan Yin, et al., ‘Entanglement-based secure quantum cryptography over 1,120 kilometres’, Nature, June 15, 2020
2 See Carlo Rovelli, ‘Helgoland’, Allen Lane, 2021
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