When I meet new people, I usually get asked what I do for a living. “I manage the Yale Quantum Institute and I work with quantum physicists”. Almost every time, regardless of the level of education, I am met with blank stares and awkward silences. Quantum physics seems so abstract and foreign that it paralyzes my interlocutors, forcing them out of this fascinating subject. When I think about quantum physics, I get excited about cats being dead and alive at the same time, spooky actions at a distance, entanglements…
The lack of exposure to quantum physics and the cultural assumption it is one of the most complex subjects in physics might be the reasons why people are so reluctant to discuss this topic.
Leveraging the Intersectionality of science and the humanities, YQI launched in Spring 2017 a new series of non-technical talks to combat quantum physics phobia, and, in a more general way, science phobia. The goal of these talks is to bring a new regard to quantum physics and science by having experts cast new light on often-overlooked aspects of scientific work. Using music, art, dance and crochet as an attention grabber, we engaged the audience to talk about quantum physics, science, physics and mathematics… The complete list of events is available below.
By attending these events, accessible to a large audience made of diverse population distributed from undergraduates to professors and staff as well as New Haven residents, we are all invited to reflect on how the contribution of science plays a role in our daily life.
I hope these events will have a lasting impression on young attendees, and encouraging them to consider a career in STEM.