Things scientists have been doing

What should I be digressing about?

Things scientists have been doing

Postby Zephyr190 on Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:36 am

Other than argue about clocks and satellites and if those neutrinos should in fact get a ticket.

It's been an exciting month in the world of relativity, with all sorts of particle and theoretical physicists, metrologists, cosmologists, along with every Tom, Dick and Harry frantically searching for a hole in the faster than light neutrino results.

However, firstly to demonstrate the rest of us haven't been slacking off, and secondly because ours are awesome, the world of Quantum Mechanics has had 2 of it's biggest breakthroughs since it's formalisation in the 1920s.

Firstly, the wavefunction is a physical object. Everything is a wavefunction, every wave, particle, light, matter force, wavefunction. It's our bread and butter, our large enough lever and pivot, our whole shebang. Einstein went to his grave claiming it was nothing more than a statistical nicety, but this shakes physics right down to the core. FTL neutrinos might mess with our theory of gravity a bit, this can completely turn it on its arse. ... ons-1.9392

Secondly, from the incredibly abstract field I happen to work in, comes the room temperature fault tolerant non-Abelian topological graphene quantum processing theory. I'll break that down a little, room temperature is, well, you know that one. Fault tolerant, a type of computer memory that either doesn't develop corruption errors or can fix them by itself. Non-Abelian, a class of anyon particularly good for processing information. Anyon, it's a specific type of quantum object that can only exist in topological systems. Topological systems, systems that exibit the properties of 2-dimensional space, kind of like flatland. Graphene, a carbon structure, if you think of a carbon nano-tube as a straw, then cut it down the side and flatten it out you get graphene. It's an incredibly strong, and now incredibly topologically useful material. Quantum processing, it's like that quad core you've got in your PC, except if it took a week on a quantum processor then that one of yours would have had to have been running since the beginning of the universe to do it.

A little TL:DR for the above, this is the first realisation of an actual quantum computer in years. There's probably a few kinks to work out, but this could be making quantum computers a reality. Yes, it'll probably only be about 60 years before teens are using it to watch porn on, but before then there's some nice stuff to look forward to. Many illnesses, such as Alzheimers and several forms of cancer are very difficult to understand, and therefore very difficult to treat, because we lack the computing power to understand how they behave. I'm not saying it's going to be an overnight miracle, but it'd be a huge step in the right direction. Here's a link to the paper for anyone who's a bit of a masochist

So, I'm not saying these discoveries trump the work at CERN (I think they're more important personally, but if you ask any researcher what they think the most important research is in and they'll say theirs), but definitely worth some considering. Plus, quantum mechanics = Awesome.
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