Quantum Spies at the Edinburgh Science Festival
Informatics researchers are coming back to the Edinburgh Science Festival with an activity for children aged 8-12 at the National Museum of Scotland. Chris Heunen, Nuiok Dicaire and volunteers from Quantum Informatics will be running a week-long drop-in activity called "Quantum Spies" from 9 to 13 April, 10-4.30pm. Participants will explore the mysteries of quantum informatics, discover hidden messages, cover their tracks, and intercept secret communications in order to earn a quantum spy licence.
The event has been planned since 2019 and was delayed by the pandemic.
The aim of the activity is to introduce participants to the superposition principle of quantum informatics through a hands-on secret spy mission.
Traditional spy props: magnifying glasses will be used during the activity to showcase the superposition of polarisation angles in light. The activity also creates an opportunity to discuss practical applications of the principle, such as LCD displays and fibre optic internet.
Edinburgh’s annual Science Festival is the world’s first public celebration of science and technology as a festival and still one of Europe’s largest. The 2021 Festival spanned Saturday 26 June – Sunday 11 July, and explored the theme of One World: Science Connects Us. Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, 120 speakers both online and in 30 venues across Edinburgh participated in a programme of over 200 events, including outdoor exhibitions, tours and trails, workshops, discussions and family shows.