Amazing Experiments and the Fascination of Quantum Computing: MQV at FORSCHA 2023

From 5 to 7 May, Munich Quantum Valley was part of the FORSCHA, which took place as part of the Munich Science Days at the Deutsches Museum Verkehrszentrum. Around 8,000 visitors attended the interactive festival of knowledge.

Between subways, racing cars and helicopters, numerous exhibitors from science and research, technology and medicine, as well as education, art and culture presented a colorful program of experiments, workshops and lectures. "Experience knowledge live" is the motto of FORSCHA - something that was also possible at the Munich Quantum Valley booth.

Polarization and quantum effects: Hands-on program at the MQV booth

Veronika Aechter explains the quantum eraser experiment

From children of kindergarten age to retired physics teachers: young and old were able to gain an insight into quantum research at our booth and engage in experiments of their own. The very youngest were particularly impressed by the effect of two polarization filters rotated against each other: "Look, Dad, it suddenly gets dark!" Can we do magic? Unfortunately, we had to destroy this illusion by using an egg slicer as a "filter" and light waves from the 3D printer to explain the effect. On the other hand, many of the parents were happy: "Ah! That's why I can see better with my polarized glasses when I'm driving!"

Those who had not yet had enough after the introduction to light polarization were able to delve deeper into the behavior of light right away in the quantum-eraser experiment and gain an insight into quantum phenomena. The green laser in the experiment seemed to magically attract children in particular. Even initially skeptical visitors found it difficult to escape the spell of the weird quantum effects - wave-particle duality, superposition - as the explanation progressed. Often parents turned to their children for help, for whom this was nothing new: double slit, interference, no big deal.

"And what do we need this for now?"

A magnifying glass is needed to spot the tiny qubits on the chip

Visitors at MQV's booth also learned that quantum properties are not only good for fascinating experiments, but also have a real application in quantum computers. On a real quantum-computer chip, kindly provided by the Walther Meißner Institute, tiny little qubits could be discovered. Built into a shiny golden holder, characteristic of the chandelier architecture of quantum computers with superconducting qubits, the chip made the abstract concept of quantum computing tangible.

The lecture by Prof. Dr. Barbara Kraus, holder of the Chair of Quantum Algorithms and Applications at the Technical University of Munich, was also dedicated to the question "Why is everyone talking about quantum computing". In addition, Prof. Dr. Steffen Glaser from the Munich Center for Quantum Science and Technology (MCQST) presented "Quantum Mechanics at your fingertips" and the radio play "Alice in Quantum Land" made an appearance with a live reading in two parts.