Canada’s PM stuns audiences with knowledge of Quantum computing

Visiting to make a funding announcement Trudeau immediately started talking about things being waves and particles

News Desk April 16, 2016
PHOTO: macleans

Much-loved Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has wowed admirers once again; this time not with his looks or yoga expertise but with his knowledge of Quantum computing.

Director of the Institute for Quantum Computing at University of Waterloo Raymond Laflamme admits he was left ‘flabbergasted’ by Trudeau’s knowledge.

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On a visit to make a funding announcement, Trudeau immediately started talking about things being waves and particles at the same time, like cats being dead and alive at the same time, referencing the famous thought experiment of the late legendary physicist Erwin Schrödinger.

“I don’t know where he learned all that stuff, but we were all surprised,” Laflamme says.

Soon afterwards, as Trudeau met with one student talking about superconductivity, the Prime Minister asked her, “Why don’t we have high-temperature superconducting systems?” something Laflamme describes as the institute’s “Holy Grail” quest.

“I was flabbergasted,” Laflamme says. “I don’t know how he does in other subjects, but in quantum physics, he knows the basic pieces and the important questions.”

Further, during a media Q&A after the tour, Trudeau surprised a journalist who jokingly asked the premier to explain quantum computing, by elaborately answering the answer before moving on to the more serious ISIL question posed by the journalist.

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“Normal computers work, either there’s power going through a wire or not. It’s 1 or a 0. They’re binary systems,” Trudeau explained. “A quantum state can be much more complex than that because, as we know, things can be both particle and wave at the same time, and the uncertainty around quantum states allows us to encode more information into a much smaller computer.”

An impressed Laflamme who fact checked Trudeau’s explanation said he’s right; “Quantum physics is easy,” Laflamme says. “Running a country, that’s complex.”

This article originally appeared on Macleans