The two towering achievements of modern physics are quantum theory and Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Together, they explain virtually everything about the world in which we live. But almost a century after their advent, most people haven’t the slightest clue what either is about. Radio astronomer, award-winning writer and broadcaster Marcus Chown talks to fellow stargazer Fred Watson about his book Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You.
Marcus Chown is an award-winning writer and broadcaster. Formerly a radio astronomer at the California Institute of Technology, he is now cosmology consultant of the weekly science magazine New Scientist.
The Magic Furnace, Marcus' second book, was chosen in Japan as one of the Books of the Year by Asahi Shimbun. In the UK, the Daily Mail called it "a dizzy page-turner with all the narrative devices you'd expect to find in Harry Potter". His latest book is called Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You.
Fred Watson is astronomer in charge of the Anglo-Australian Observatory at Coonabarabran, where his main scientific interest is gathering information on very large numbers of stars and galaxies. He is an adjunct professor at the Queensland University of Technology, the University of Southern Queensland and James Cook University.
Watson is well-known for his astronomy slots on ABC radio. His books include Stargazer: The Life and Times of the Telescope and Why is Uranus Upside Down?, which won the 2008 Queensland Premier’s Award for Science Writing.
He worked on the ABC's new blockbuster Universe as chief consultant. In 2003 Fred received the David Allen Prize for communicating astronomy to the public, and in 2006 was the winner of the Australian Government Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science.
Marcus Chown, author of Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You: A Guide to the Universe, discusses the mechanics behind quantum computers, explaining that they function by having atoms exist in multiple places at once.
He predicts that quantum computers will be produced within 20 years.