Over four days in September, the Quantum Communications Hub co-ordinated the presence of the Quantum City public engagement initiative of the national programme at one of UK’s largest science festivals – the New Scientist Live.
Featuring many interactive demos, Hub colleagues from Heriot Watt and partners from the other Hubs and the Quantum CDTs showcased the transformative effect of these emerging technologies across all aspects of everyday life. The Hub participated with the MacroPhoton exhibit, a teaching aid introducing visitors to the concepts of quantum secure key exchange between two communicating partners. Other exhibits included demos of ion traps, the building blocks of future quantum computers; prototypes of highly sensitive quantum sensors; an exhibit explaining how light travels; a quantum bingo introducing quantum random number generators; and an augmented reality application highlighting principles of quantum enhanced imaging.
The event was hugely successful with over 40,000 visitors, including a number of London schools. Highlights included visits by Dr Patrick Valance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, and British astronaut Tim Peake who was keen to stay longer and discuss upcoming quantum communications experiments on-board the international space station!