Quantum 101

23 July 2019

Quantum 101 was an exciting opportunity for students, aged 12-15, to explore the weird and wonderful world of quantum physics. Students had the chance to work with researchers in the field of quantum physics and explore some of its real-world applications now and in the future.

Dr Kathryn Boast, Quantum Materials Outreach Officer, comments on why she got involved with the day.

Until now, popular physics has been dominated by astrophysics and particle physics. However, quantum technology is leaping forwards, and it’s time we put it in the spotlight! It’s great to be able to work with young physicists to inspire and educate them about this less-understood area of physics

The day included an introductory lecture to quantum physics from Prof David Lucas, three hands-on workshops and a code-breaking exercise. The ‘Levitate!’ workshop explored the physics of superconductors, a technology which could be a small step away from revolutionising many aspects of our lives, and are already widely in use, for example in MRI scanners. In the workshop, the students got hands-on with superconductors, cooling them down with liquid nitrogen and trying magnetic levitation for themselves. It was a lot of fun, and showed off one of the most spectacular phenomena in the physics of quantum materials!

Another highlight from the day was the opportunity to explore our quantum technology labs in the basement of the Department. Student were able to see how researchers are working on the first quantum computers here is Oxford.

There were 48 students who attended the day from a number of state schools in the South East. Over 15 researchers were involved in the planning and delivery of the event. Feedback from the students and teachers was very positive and we hope to make this an annual event for schools.

Feedback from participants:

"Fascinating" (student)
"Thought provoking" (student)
"Rewarding" (student)
"Keep doing these events. This was the best event I have been to. The activities were exciting and meaningful" (teacher)

The Department of Physics runs a range of events and activities for schools and the public. To find out more about our events please join one of our mailing lists.

Teachers can join our schools mailing list here: https://www2.physics.ox.ac.uk/my-forms/schools-mailing-list
Members of the public can join our public mailing list here: https://www2.physics.ox.ac.uk/my-forms/email-list