Demystifying the ‘weird’ world of quantum mechanics

Quantum mechanics, for the layman, is typically placed in the realm of the ‘weird’ or the ‘too hard’; a set of exotic rules that apply to things only on the very small scale, and not something we need to consider in everyday life. Associate Professor Andrea Morello wants to challenge this notion with his new YouTube channel The Quantum Around You.

In this weekly video series, Morello, a quantum physicist who last year won the prestigious Prime Minister’s Prize for Physical Science, explores the quantum mechanics in surprising, every day applications. For example, the channel’s first video looks at bird migration.

“Quantum mechanics is often described as weird, counterintuitive or spooky, but in fact it’s simply the set of laws governing the world at the microscopic scale,” said Morello. “What I hope to achieve is to help the viewers to grow an appreciation of the place quantum mechanics has in our daily life.”

With almost 130 000 views in his first fortnight, Morello is keenly aware of how young audiences engage with information in modern times.

“I think the future of science (and of our society as we know it) will depend upon our success in engaging and motivating young people to pursue a science or engineering career. I happen to work and teach in a fascinating discipline, and I hope to make a difference by sharing through YouTube my knowledge and passion for the things I know.”

The video series will cover daily, and slightly less daily, phenomena that contain quantum effects. Morello is keen to take viewers’ suggestions for what they would like to see, so he encourages everyone to get involved and subscribe to his weekly YouTube clips on the World Around You channel.

About the author
Andrea Morello is Associate Professor in Quantum Nanosystems with the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications at UNSW Australia and Program Manager in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T). His research is aimed at building a quantum computer based on single spins in silicon.