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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Quantum Theory as the Crux of the Matter? Between Basic Research and the Promise of New Technologies

A panel discussion on the state of the art in quantum research, differing approaches, and an outlook on future developments.

To most people ‘quantum’ simply means: It’s complicated. To most scholars in the field it means: It’s a strange theory nobody would have come up with. But empirical evidence forced us to develop quantum theory. Quantum theory deals with the question of how basic things work. What is the core of everything?

Is it small particles or are all things energetic waves or as quantum theory suggests: something of both. This is quite disturbing, because we know the visible world as consisting of things and not waves.Hence, quantum theory is not only complicated it comes with the promise that if we understand and master quantum mechanics, we will be able to control the way nature works.

Starting from this point, new materials, new forms of computing and new possibilities become thinkable.

The main idea of quantum theory is the explanation of how our physical world works and how we could possibly intervene and regulate things. But it is indeed complicated! How does the quantum – wavy - level connect with the level of more “lumpy things” – like for example cells or other entities? How can we design smaller but stronger materials? Can we build faster computers? Or is beaming possible?

The panel will give a brief insight into the state of the art in quantum theory, current fields of research, and will address applied techniques already in use, as well as perspectives and future outcomes.

With the three panelists Prof. Dr. Birgitta Whaley (University of California, Berkley), Prof. Dr. Oliver Benson (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) and Prof. Dr. Thomas Elsässer (Max-Born-Institut and Humboldt Universität zu Berlin), three international experts in different fields of quantum research with different perspectives on the research subject will discuss possibilities and dead ends in current research.


Following you can find a recording of the event:




The event took place at:




TAT – Tieranatomisches Theater

Philippstr. 12/13, 10115 Berlin