Quantum Capers

When I was in high school I was more or less directed to join a class in Year 10 that was effectually an advanced science, mathematics and philosophy class. My (eccentric) physics teacher, Mr Wright, was a former child chess champion and clearly a brilliant man who just eventually got bored with high school physics and science, and just invented a subject that covered curriculum that no other staff member probably even remotely understood. And he called that subject – somewhat prosaically – “General Studies”. In that subject was a rather unique array of studies, including ontology (the study of being), cognition, ecology, probability, basic programming, political philosophy – and quantum mechanics. Whilst I essentially bid farewell to maths and science when I finished high school, I have found the contents of that single subject have pursued (dogged?) me my whole life. I eventually took up programming when I started doing common gateway interface and interactivity work in the 1990s. I studied politics, philosophy and ecology in my undergraduate degree and maintained an interest in the public sphere thereafter. Cognition and ontology theory influenced my engagement with theories of post-modernism in my studies of pure English literature, and later in my studies in education. And finally, throughout my life, I’ve always kept half an ear on theories arising from the field of quantum theory and quantum mechanics.

And the latest news arising from the quantum theory camp is that a quantum computer works best when it’s not in a fully operational state.

It’s stories like these that have always tickled me with quantum theory. Unlike laws of energy, mass and momentum which normally apply, according to quantum theory, at the subatomic level the interactions between particles and environments are far more eclectic and yet also measurable. There’s just something about being able to measure an action which is essentially indistinguishable from magic that inherently appeals to me. Perhaps I just like paradoxes?

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