Physics as a way of thinking

...and escaping the apparent chaos that surrounds us

Welcome to issue #3. This one arrives late; changing time zones messes things up. In #3 you will find a mix of short news bits, and some longer pieces. My favorite is the 1936 essay in the Physics section. Such a great morning coffee read.

In the news…

Ford signs a $100k contract with NASA to use Agency’s D-Wave2000Q quantum annealer to address optimization challenges in autonomous driving.

UK-Singapore collaborate to build and launch a quantum-encrypted satellite link by the end of 2021.

Former Rigetti employee’s startup raises $1.5m to build quantum-based integrated circuits.

Quantum computing

Physicist Seth Lloyd pitched quantum internet browser to Google’s founders in 2012. He was turned down. But the foundational idea on which Quoogle project rests, quantum random access memory (qRAM), is still an intriguing one, and leaves us pondering: what will qRAM actually look like?

A new approach to measuring the state of qubits in a computer “replaces the need for a cryogenic amplifier, and could be extended toward eliminating much of the required room-temperature hardware”.

Physics

A stunning 1936 essay about the nature of physical thinking & its influence across disciplines

Starting with this picture we may trace the history of physical science as the history of the human mind adjusting itself by an infinite series of steps to the physical world, assimilating here a bit and there a bit of material and ever trying to escape the apparent chaos which surrounds it.

Quantum atmosphere, “a thin aura that surrounds the material” invite novel outlooks in exploring quantum properties of materials. “Those properties can be extraordinary. Certain materials act like their own universes with their own physical laws, as if comprising what’s recently been called a materials multiverse.”


A university student attending lectures on general relativity in the morning and others on quantum mechanics in the afternoon might be forgiven for thinking that his professors are fools, or have neglected to communicate with each other for at least a century.
— Carlo Rovelli, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics