This talk gives an overview of the so-called "quantum mechanics": the laws of motion that place Newtonian mechanics when the particles under discussion are very small. The first part of the talk reviews the exciting years from 1900 to 1930, focussing on the revolution in our understanding of atomic physics during this time. The second part gives some examples of advances that were made possible by quantum mechanics, including the transistor that led to the microcomputer revolution. The third part explores a couple of more modern themes, quantum computing and quantum cryptography, and explains how the strange mechanics of atoms can theoretically give us hitherto undreamed-of computational power.The talk is based on considering the results of real experiments; it should be accessible to anyone who (a) has heard of atoms, and (b) knows a little bit about gravity.
Tea and coffee will be provided from 7 pm in the Tea Room of the Poynting building, the lecture will start at 7:30pm