Whether it was the theory of gravity or relativity, new concepts in physics tend to start out as seemingly unbelievable before they become widely accepted and are translated into world-changing technologies. Quantum physics is the latest such theory to slowly move into mainstream consciousness. Quantum physics deals with such strange phenomena as quantum entanglement – the fact that the states of two particles can be connected, or entangled, even when they are a galaxy apart. Scientists and engineers have spent the past decades trying to create applications from this knowledge, but in the past years, innovation in quantum communication and quantum computing has picked up breath-taking speed. Jian-Wei Pan, Professor of Physics at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, is one of the leading pioneers in the relatively young field of quantum technology. In 2016, he led the efforts of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to successfully develop and launch the first-ever quantum science satellite, Micius (named after a Chinese philosopher), into space – used to facilitate experiments on quantum key distribution, entanglement distribution, and quantum teleportation over unprecedented distances. At Falling Walls, Jian-Wei explains how his satellite project is another step closer to a new class of technologies that will fundamentally disrupt the way we process and transport information.

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