NSEW 2008: Quantum Engineering

Practical Applications of Quantum Physics and How these Might Transform Society.
A lecture on the fundamentals of quantum physics with hands-on demonstrations and a discussion of the potential impact of quantum technology on everyone’s life.

This event was part of the National Science and Engineering Week 2008

Date: Saturday, 8th March 2008
Time: 14:00 – 17:00
Venue: Queen’s Buildings, Room C/2.07, Google Map
(Enter building at the porter’s lodge on the right under the bridge linking the buildings; we’ll take you to the room from there)
Address: School of Computer Science, Cardiff University
5 The Parade, Cardiff, CF24 3AA


Wavefunctions of Atomic Orbitals and their Superpositions The quest for miniaturisation has lead to nano-scale devices consisting of only a few atomic layers exhibiting quantum effects. Quantum engineering seeks to exploit these effects to develop new applications for such devices. This remains very much a scientific and technological frontier; we perhaps can no more predict how quantum devices will change the world than the inventors of the Internet were able to envisage how it is transforming society now. Yet, quantum effects are already essential for semi-conductor technology used in everyday devices such as mobile phones and there are promising new applications in many areas of technology; from secure communication, to controlling chemical reactions, to biomedical applications, for example.

This event is suitable for a general, adult audience, incl. older school children. It does not require any previous knowledge about quantum physics, etc. We will embark onto a journey into “quantum land” to provide an insight into essential quantum effects enabling the above applications. We will also present some of these applications in detail and discuss their impact on society with the audience in an informal setting. A programme is available below.

Admission is free, but registration by e-mail publicbookings@cardiff.ac.uk or phone (029) 2087 6936 is required as there is a limited number of places available.


(A4, PDF, 1.7MB)

(A5, PDF, 1.1MB)
Contact: Frank Langbein
Organisers: Frank Langbein, Cardiff University
S. G. Schirmer, University of Cambridge
Event links: the BA
Yahoo Upcoming


This is the programme for our NSEW event on Quantum Engineering on the 8th of March 2008. No prior knowledge of quantum physics or other related topics is required. We will try to answer all your questions about quantum physics and show how it is already relevant to many technologies and what future applications might be possible.

Admission is free, but registration by e-mail publicbookings@cardiff.ac.uk or phone (029) 2087 6936 is required as there is a limited number of places available.

You are welcome to be present only during part of the event. Please let us know when registering if this is the case. But note that the times below are only approximate.

Time Activity
14:00 Welcome and introduction
14:15 A journey into “Quantum Land”
A talk explaining essential effects in quantum physics in simple terms with many visualisations and easy to follow analogies.
15:00 Hands-on session
You will be able to explore some of the effects of quantum physics in simple hands-on experiments, demonstrations and computer software. You will also have a chance to chat with the organisers and speakers.
Topics covered:

  • Quantum Physics in Everyday Life and Beyond: How Common Gadgets Work and More
  • The Photoelectric Effect – Light as Particle
  • The Double-Slit Experiment – Is Light a Wave or a Particle?
  • Advanced Optics with Laser Pointers and Metersticks
  • From Heisdenberg’s Uncertainty to Wavefunctions for a Particle in a Box
  • Atomic Orbitals
  • Quantum Tunneling
  • Quantum Technologies – Applying Quantum Physics in the Real World

Light refreshments will be available.

16:00 Applications and Discussion
We will introduce you to some of the potential applications of quantum physics and discuss with you the impact of these on society and everyone’s life. Depending on time and interest we will consider applications in areas such as communication and privacy, circuits with light, quantum computers, quantum sensors, biomedicine, material science, quantum clocks, imaging and lithography.
16:55 Closing Remarks

Contact Frank Langbein with any questions you have about this event or the schedule.

This event is supported by the Welsh Assembly Government. It is part of the National Science and Engineering Week in the UK, from 7-16 March 2008. The National Science and Engineering Week is coordinated by the BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science) in partnership with the Engineering and Technology Board (ETB), and funded by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS).

Cite this page as 'Frank C Langbein, "NSEW 2008: Quantum Engineering," Ex Tenebris Scientia, 26th October 2008, https://langbein.org/nsew2008-quantum-engineering/ [accessed 26th September 2023]'.

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