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Big crowds explore quantum science at IQC Open House

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Institute for Quantum Computing welcomed more than 800 visitors to its labs and research areas.

Children partaking in an open house event at IQCThe Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) welcomed more than 800 visitors to its labs and research areas Saturday during the institute’s biggest and most successful open house to date.

All day, a steady stream of guests visited IQC’s labs and research areas, where scientists explained their cutting-edge research.

A participating site on Doors Open Waterloo Region, the IQC open house featured a wide variety of activities to appeal to every level of scientific expertise, from young children to quantum aficionados.

A public lecture by IQC faculty member Dr. David Cory, which sold out nearly a week in advance, explored the incredible breakthroughs that lie ahead with quantum devices.

In a scientifically detailed but accessible lecture, Cory outlined how quantum information research will lead to real-world breakthroughs in fields as diverse as medicine, oil exploration and landmine elimination.

“Can we really make these quantum devices? Absolutely, the answer is yes,” Cory told the standing-room-only audience.

In one example, Cory explained how scientists will harness quantum mechanics to develop more accurate, efficient and painless glucose monitoring technologies for diabetes patients.

“This will happen,” Cory said. “This will happen soon.”

Keep an eye on the IQC website for a video of Cory’s lecture.

For the younger crowd, a children’s science show at proved especially popular, with dozens of youngsters sitting cross-legged in the “Discovery Zone,” eagerly volunteering for fascinating and hair-raising demonstrations.

All-day activities in the Discovery Zone gave kids the chance to learn about electromagnetism, optics, superconductors and more through hands-on activities.

Guests were free to explore IQC’s ever-growing headquarters — Research Advancement Centres 1 and 2 — and take a virtual tour of the institute’s future home, the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum Nano Centre.

Dozens of visitors signed IQC’s electronic guestbook leaving messages such as “Mind-boggling,” “Amazing to see the facility” and “So many great minds at work!”

IQC was the focus of local news coverage of Doors Open Waterloo Region, including items in The Waterloo Region Record and on CTV News.

Founded in 2002, the mission of the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) is to aggressively explore and advance the application of quantum mechanical systems to a vast array of relevant information processing techniques.

A part of the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ont., Canada, IQC creates a truly unique environment fostering cutting-edge research and collaboration between researchers in the areas of computer, engineering, mathematical and physical sciences.

At the time of this release, IQC has 17 faculty members, 22 postdoctoral fellows and over 55 students and research assistants, as well as a support staff of 18.

The Institute for Quantum Computing acknowledges the support of the Government of Canada through Industry Canada and the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Research and Innovation.

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