Arts researchers lead new quantum projects

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) just announced two new projects supported by the Quantum Quest Seed Fund led by researchers in Psychology and English that aim to make quantum concepts more easily understood.

According the IQC announcement, the seed fund encourages new ideas and applications for quantum technologies, opening opportunities to researchers from diverse fields that don’t typically work with quantum devices – “this time, reaching the Faculty of Arts at the University of Waterloo.”  The two new projects received a total of $69,051 in seed funding.

Folk understanding of quantum physics 

Psychology’s Igor Grossmann and Richard Eibach aim to explain how cultural differences in folk epistemologies influence one’s receptivity to these novel quantum concepts. If the hypothesized effects are obtained, they may suggest that the integration of quantum technologies into societies not only transforms the economy but also drives constructive cultural change.

Their project proposal provides more context: As quantum technologies become increasingly integrated into human lives, exposure to new concepts can challenge people’s thoughts about physical reality, because quantum concepts can seem counterintuitive. However, they may not be equally counterintuitive to people from all cultural backgrounds because culture shapes the way people make sense of the world.

Digital storytelling to represent transformative quantum technologies

English’s Lai-Tze Fan and her collaborator at York University have longer project title: “Using Interactive Digital Storytelling to Represent Transformative Quantum Technologies in Augmented/Extended Reality Environments”. They’re addressing the roadblock to broader adoption of quantum technologies caused by seemingly abstract concepts that can make it difficult to understand, especially through scientific language. 

Their project includes the development of augmented reality (AR) and extended reality (XR) creations that use 3D versions of foundational quantum phenomena. AR and XR environments have become increasingly popular in experimental learning and can present a unique storytelling method for communicating complex ideas.

Read more from IQC on the Quantum Quest Seed Fund.