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August 21, 2020

You're going to live in a quantum future

Sooner than we may once have imagined, new technologies will leverage quantum properties in a shift to a "quantum world." For decades, the National Science Foundation has led strategic investments in foundational research and development that have jumpstarted teh quantum revolution. Now NSF is working to address key scientific and technological challenges that must be overcome to unleash its full potential.

Credit: National Science Foundation/Karson Productions

Quantum leaps.

I'm Bob Karson with the Discovery Files, from the National Science Foundation.

One of the next big things, actually, comes at a very small scale. The Quantum Revolution. And it's already begun.

Quantum physics is the study of matter and energy at its most basic: the world of tiny particles such as photons or electrons. (Sound effect: reverb, etc., down in the world of electrons) Things get really weird down here.

At that scale, the laws of classical physics can't explain some of what goes on. But quantum physics can. So, researchers have been working to understand and harness quantum principles -- the result will be transformational. Think: computers -- perhaps millions of times more powerful than the ones we know. (Sound effect: Communications sounds) Faster, more secure communications. (Sound effect: Sensor sound) More sensitive, more accurate sensors -- even new materials.

Dozens of quantum computers already now exist, but they're mostly experimental. In all areas of quantum information science, researchers are encountering new challenges at every step. Big questions remain. The U.S. National Science Foundation is working to overcome these challenges, to help make quantum a faster reality.

Jumpstarting a new age takes time but hey -- the digital revolution we now take for granted (Sound effect: 40s music) actually started way back in the '40s.

The quantum revolution. Might say we're big on some very tiny particles.

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