Physics News of the Week: a New Quantum Algorithm and a Possible 5th Force of Nature

| February 24, 2013 | 0 Comments

This week we have a some news from quantum scientists and particle physics. As always, if you would like to receive these news  straight to your email, register for our email newsletter.

1. Robert C. Richardson, a Cornell University professor and a Nobel Prize Winner, Died at an Age of 75 (February 20)

Robert C. Richardson, who shared a Nobel Prize for a key discovery in experimental physics back in 1996  for the 1972 discovery of the property of superfluidity in helium-3 atoms, has passed away on Tuesday from complications of a heart attack.

Robert Coleman Richardson (June 26, 1937 – February 19, 2013) was an American experimental physicist whose area of research included sub-millikelvin temperature studies of helium-3.

“Bob Richardson was an extraordinary physicist who used his deep understanding of the scientific enterprise to shape the course of research at Cornell and nationally,” said Cornell President David Skorton. Read the full report here.

2. A “Fifth Force of Nature” Might Exist  (February 21)

As far as we know there are 4 fundamental forces in nature: gravity, electromagnetism, weak and strong forces. Interestingly,  Professor of Physics Larry Hunter and colleagues at Amherst College and The University of Texas at Austin believe that a fifth fundamental force might exist in nature. They have established new limits on what scientists call “long-range spin-spin interactions” between atomic particles. These interactions have been proposed by theoretical physicists but have not yet been seen. Their observation would constitute the discovery of a “fifth force of nature”. This fifth force of interactions between spins might be much weaker than the force of gravity, but in principle it should be detectable. Read the full report here.

Quantum computers: a near future?

3. A First Quantum Algorithm to Perform a True Calculation (February 24)

Calculations are the base of every type of computing and quantum computing is not an exception. A quantum computer, as experts believe, could achieve the results of classical electronic computers many times faster. However, as of today, scientists had found it rather hard to perform even the simplest calculations using quantum mechanics.

An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bristol, UK, and the University of Queensland, Australia, has demonstrated a quantum algorithm that performs a true calculation for the first time. As Dr Xiao-Qi Zhou said, “Before our experiment, there had been several demonstrations of quantum algorithms, however, none of them implemented the quantum algorithm without knowing the answer in advance. This is because in the previous demonstrations the quantum circuits were simplified to make it more experimentally feasible. However, this simplification of circuits required knowledge of the answer in advance. Unlike previous demonstrations, we built a full quantum circuit to implement the phase estimation algorithm without any simplification. We don’t need to know the answer in advance and it is the first time the answer is truly calculated by a quantum circuit with a quantum algorithm.” Read the full report here.

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