Domesticating the Quantum

Pierre Meystre
Editor in Chief
American Physical Society

Following its discovery, the quantum became central to our quest for a fundamental understanding of nature, from the structure of atoms and light to the Standard Model of particle physics, and beyond. As we learned how to tame, and increasingly how to domesticate the quantum, this also resulted in a technological `Quantum Revolution’ with a profound impact on our lives. This goes from the utterly devastating – with the invention of weapons capable of destroying civilization in the blink of an eye, to the most empowering – from medical imaging to the GPS, from the transistor to the laser, and from the internet to the smart phone. Following a brief review of these developments the lecture will focus on a more counter-intuitive aspect of quantum reality, what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance.” I will discuss how worldwide efforts at domesticating this elusive quantum attribute may lead to a `Second Quantum Revolution,’ with much promise for quantum communications, quantum metrology and quantum computing.