How Quantum Physics Questions Our Perception of Reality

Plato’s famous Parable of the Cave illustrates the idea that human beings will never be able to see the truth until they leave the cave in which they are held prisoners, forced to watch shadows on the dark walls, and seeing only projections instead of reality itself. It has been suggested that this old metaphor of our limitations of understanding might well describe the relationship between classical physics which studies phenomena of the sensible reality, and quantum physics which explores what lies underneath. Quantum physics challenges traditional perceptions of reality: it teaches us that matter is mainly void, that objects can simultaneously exist in different places, and that they are physically correlated in space and time through a phenomenon called “entanglement” – what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”. A pioneer in quantum information and the foundations of quantum mechanics, the Austrian physicist Anton Zeilinger has been awarded with recognitions like the first Newton Medal and the 2010 Wolf Prize in Physics. He realised many important quantum information protocols for the first time and helped build the basis for future quantum communication networks, the long-distance transmission of signals using the properties of entanglement, powerful quantum computers and quantum cryptography which might bring us perfect data security. At Falling Walls, Zeilinger demonstrates how the growing knowledge of quantum physics will change the way we perceive ourselves and the reality surrounding us.

Anton Zeilinger

University of Vienna

Anton Zeilinger (born on 20 May 1945 in Ried im Innkreis, Austria) is an Austrian quantum physicist. He is currently professor of physics at the University of Vienna, previously University of Innsbruck. He is also the director of the Vienna branch of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information IQOQI at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Zeilinger has been called a pioneer in the new field of quantum information and is renowned for his realization of quantum teleportation with photons.

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