Excerpted from The Hill:

By Tomasz Durakiewicz, program director for Condensed Matter Physics at the National Science Foundation


Driving Route 66 requires no specialized training. Steering wheel, pedals, lights, mirror controls — they are all familiar concepts, each one a well-established automobile technology. If you’ve driven one car, you’ve more or less driven them all. Call it driver’s intuition.

However, despite the public’s growing awareness of quantum technology, a corresponding intuition is rare, even among experts in the field.  With quantum intuition, one could differentiate between quantum and classical worlds — at the most basic level — without deliberation.

For most of us, stuck with our classical minds, quantum intuition is difficult due to the counterintuitive nature of the quantum world. Concepts like entanglement and superposition can be challenging, since there is no obvious mapping of the bizarre quantum world to everyday life.

We are not yet ready for that transition. Mastering intuition requires a solid quantum education, one that crosses disciplines and fuses physics, computer science, engineering, mathematics and materials research in nearly equal parts.

Such an education must include focused training at the elementary, middle and high school levels, as well as informal education at museums and unconventional approaches like merging art into quantum education.

Industry is also getting involved.As students further develop their careers, the convergent efforts of industry, academia and government will be vital, as will early introductions to industrial settings. One initial effort, known as the TRIPLETS program, was initiated by NSF and co-sponsored by industrial partners such as IBM, Google, Raytheon, Montana Instruments and many others, including several Department of Energy National Laboratories. This approach allows students to collaborate with both an industrial advisor and an academic investigator, forming a “triplet” that introduces fundamental research and industrial culture well before graduation.

Read more at The Hill.