Gevirtz School students help lead programs for World Quantum Day at UC Santa Barbara on April 14

Wednesday, April 13, 2022
EPiQC logo

Gevirtz School graduate students Matthew Bennett, Devon Christman, Liliana Garcia, and Ali Muller will help lead programs as part of “Untangling Entanglement & Other Quantum Ideas,” presented by the UC Santa Barbara Library on Thursday, April 14, 12:30 pm – 2 pm, Instruction & Training 1312. The event, which is free and open to the public, celebrates World Quantum Day. Attendees will participate in fun interactive games and activities designed to build their quantum intuition and engage in foundational knowledge of quantum physics. Quantum physics defies our intuition about how the physical world is supposed to work.

The activities being presented were developed through the Enabling Practical-scale Quantum Computing Expedition or EPiQC, a multi-institutional research project funded by the NSF that brings the great potential of this new paradigm into reality by reducing the current gap between existing theoretical algorithms and practical quantum computing architectures. Danielle Harlow, Professor in the Department of Education, is PI of the UCSB portion of this grant and co-directs the education and outreach component.

Events will include a superposition activity using polarized filters to see how light changes when it passes through the filters. Because of quantum properties of light, one can make light pass through objects that we logically think should block all light. Another activity will explore the idea of measurement in quantum science. Using different flavors of jelly beans that look the same, the presenters will challenge visitors to try to figure out which bean is each flavor without destroying the jelly beans.

Lastly, the Gevirtz School team will be joined by researchers from the Quantum Foundry at UCSB who will present challenges using lasers that explore other properties of light as well as activities that challenge visitors to measure objects that they cannot see directly with their eyes. There will also be a sticky-note board for people to engage with ideas around quantum physics.

These activities are all part of the Library’s programs surrounding this year’s UCSB Reads choice. In the final story in this year’s UCSB Reads book Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang, quantum computers allow people to explore divergent timelines. At UCSB, scientists are working on developing materials to build real quantum computers that do not allow for divergent timelines, but will help address pressing problems such as optimizing delivery routes and strengthening password encryption.

[The participating students may be interviewed; contact George Yatchisin at george@education.ucsb.edu]