Published: 31 May 2016

Can something really be in two places at once?

It seems like the dream of science-fiction enthusiasts everywhere – the idea that objects can be in two places at once, performing two different tasks at the same time. Professor Ben Murdin discussed this mind-bending theory and the race to build the world’s first quantum computer.

In the fifth instalment of Surrey's Alf Adams Lecture series, Professor Ben Murdin, head of Surrey’s Photonics and Quantum Sciences Group, explains the ideas behind quantum computing - and what it might mean for the future of technology.

Watch his lecture - The key to quantum technologies: being in two places at once – to learn more about this fascinating field.

Unravelling the mysteries of quantum computing 

Quantum computing exploits the fact that atoms can exist in two states at once - kind of like Schrödinger’s Cat being both alive and dead at the same time, atoms can be both ‘excited’ and ‘unexcited’ at the same time.

When it comes to computing, a quantum machine is capable of completing two different tasks at once. This is a groundbreaking concept for the industry, and is why there is a worldwide race to build the first quantum computer, a device more powerful than any current supercomputer.

Professor Murdin explains these ideas throughout his lecture, exploring the eye-opening research underway here at Surrey and bringing these concepts to life through the music of his guitar.

Read more about quantum computing at Surrey.

The Alf Adams Lecture Series

These annual lectures, which began in 2012, aim to showcase the groundbreaking research undertaken at the University of Surrey.

The series is named in honour of Professor Alfred 'Alf' Adams, Surrey’s distinguished Professor of Physics, and has featured a range of high profile scientific figures such as Sir Martin Sweeting OBE and Professor Derk-Jan Dijk, and topics including an explanation of lasers, the changing economics of space, the science of sleep and the inequalities of ageing.

Discover our range of undergraduate and postgraduate Physics programmes.

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