Breaking the Wall of Illusion

BREAKING THE WALL OF ILLUSION
How Quantum Physics Questions Our Perception of Reality

Anton Zeilinger
Professor of Physics at the University of Vienna and President of the Austrian Academy of Sciences

Plato’s famous Parable of the Cave illustrates the idea that human beings will never be able to see the truth until they leave the cave in which they are held prisoners, where they are forced to watch shadows on the dark walls and see only projections instead of reality itself. It has been suggested that this old metaphor of our limitations of understanding might well describe the relationship between classical physics, which studies phenomena of the sensible reality, and quantum physics, which explores what lies underneath. Quantum physics challenges traditional perceptions of reality: it teaches us that matter is mainly void, that objects can simultaneously exist in different places, and that they are physically correlated in space and time through a phenomenon called “entanglement” – what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”. A pioneer in quantum information and the foundations of quantum mechanics, the Austrian physicist Anton Zeilinger has been awarded the first Newton Medal and the 2010 Wolf Prize in Physics, among other recognitions. He realised many important quantum information protocols for the first time and helped build the basis for future quantum communication networks, the long-distance transmission of signals using the properties of entanglement, powerful quantum computers, and quantum cryptography, which might bring us perfect data security. At Falling Walls, Zeilinger demonstrates how the growing knowledge of quantum physics will change the way we perceive ourselves and the reality surrounding us.