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What Has Quantum Mechanics Ever Done For Us?

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In a different corner of the social media universe, someone left comments on a link to Tuesday’s post about quantum randomness declaring that they weren’t aware of any practical applications of quantum physics.

There’s a kind of Life of Brian absurdity to posting this on the Internet, which is a giant world-spanning, life-changing practical application of quantum mechanics. At bottom, the entire computer industry is built on quantum mechanics.

Any time you use a laser, whether indirectly by making a phone call, directly by scanning a UPC label on your groceries, or frivolously to torment a cat, you’re making practical use of quantum physics.

These rely on quantum mechanics- the “Ticking” of the clock is the oscillation of microwaves driving a transition between two particular quantum states in a cesium atom. Any time you use your phone to get you from point A to point B, the trip is made possible by quantum physics.

You know, other than computers, smartphones, the Internet, GPS, and MRI, what has quantum physics ever done for us?

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Article originally posted at www.forbes.com

Post Author: Chad Orzel

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