decide game:

quantum technologies

Group 2 – Participant 6

Story cards

Read all the cards from this category, choose the one that looks more interesting to you and explain it to the rest of the group.

olivia ortiz

Story Card 6

I really like to go hiking, and satellite navigation systems, such as GPS and Galileo, help me not get lost.

It is amazing to be able to see my position on the map to an accuracy of just a few metres. That would be impossible if navigation systems' satellites did not have atomic clocks. The quantum nature of atoms ensures these clocks' extreme precision, which translates into a minimal margin of error on our location.

blanca bueno

Story Card 14

I am an expert in cybersecurity. Nowadays, practically our whole life is connected to the internet: personal information, financial data, etc. In order to protect our privacy, we need to develop and improve the cryptographic methods we have.

I am worried that quantum computers will jeopardise this security, but it is a relief to know that quantum physics also provides us with tools to exchange information securely, regardless of how powerful computers are and will be.

Gerard grau

Story Card 16

I was so taken up with the strange properties of quantum physics that I wrote my research project on it. It is not easy to find detailed information about this subject, so I contacted people who work at ICFO, who gave me study materials and helped me clear up many of my doubts.

I not only learned a lot about emerging quantum technologies: my project won the high school graduation prize!

info cards


Read all cards from this category, choose the two that look more interesting and explain them to the rest of the group.



Info Card 5

The results of a measurement are probabilistic: we have no way of knowing what will happen when we measure a single particle, but we can accurately calculate the probability of each possible result.

Applications: random numbers. In fact, this is the only way to obtain completely random numbers. Random numbers have applications in cryptography, simulations, gambling, etc.

Quside, an ICFO spin-off, has invented a random number generator based on quantum physics.

MAtter Waves

Info Card 18

Quantum particles behave in a similar way to classical waves, so we could create technologies for material beams (atoms) analogous to those for light.

Examples: matter lasers, atomic interferometers, atomic lenses and mirrors, etc.

The advantage is that these devices would be very sensitive to variations in the gravitational field and inertial effects with applications in the manufacture of accelerometers (sensors that detect position changes, which are found in smartphones and tablets), for example.

second quantum revolution

Info Card 20

Quantum physics has allowed the birth of a first wave of technologies (such as lasers and transistors).

We can now control quantum particles at individual level and are arriving at the point of designing new disruptive technologies (second quantum revolution).

Examples: quantum computing, quantum cryptography, quantum simulators and quantum sensors.


bell test

Info Card 21

Many of the principles of quantum physics defy common sense (e.g. particles must have a well-defined property) or other physical theories (instant action at a distance is not possible). This made physicists wonder if quantum theory was incomplete.

John Bell ended this philosophical debate by designing an experiment that would make it possible to exclude possible alternative explanations to quantum physics that did not defy intuition.

Starting in the 1980s, many Bell tests were conducted that confirmed the validity of quantum physics.

thinking cards


Read all the cards from this category, choose the one that looks more interesting to you and explain it to the rest of the group.


There are more pressing problems

Thinking Card 8

Science and technology have improved and are continuing to improve our quality of life. However, many pressing and important challenges remain that need solutions that research cannot provide directly and quickly. Perhaps we should focus our efforts on reducing social inequalities, unemployment, hunger and poverty. Or can science and technology also help with these aspects?


fake news

Thinking Card 10

It is important for people to be informed about scientific advances so they can express critical opinions about news in the media, advertising, social networks, etc. and avoid falling for scams or misunderstandings. However, sometimes information comes from pseudoscientific sources of dubious reliability.

How should we manage this often dubious information flow?




The time and resources available to solve the major problems affecting society are limited. Imagine being part of the committee that has to decide how to invest money to develop quantum technologies at European level over the next few years: since you know that that quantum technologies could benefit society in many different ways, how many resources would you commit to developing them?

This is not an individual decision: each group must reach a unanimous conclusion by arguing properly and rationally based on the facts you have learned so far. There is no right or wrong answer. Like many things in life, it depends on your point of view, your priorities, etc.


quantum technologies are the future

Option 1

Their applications in all fields of human activity will radically change our lives, just as electricity and electronics once did. We must invest as much as we can in their development, to make them commercially viable as soon as possible. 


quantum technologies are still too far away

Opció 2

We should not be fooled by illusory promises. We have gone very far with traditional technologies and we still have a long way to go: we should keep the current investment in quantum technologies at the same level. Let scientists do their work and continue to research, focusing on maintaining and improving the technologies that we already have. 


we should prioritise

Option 3

Research into quantum physics and its applications is positive, but we currently have other far more important and pressing issues, such as hunger, poverty, wars and terrorism. Let us maintain research, but invest our money to find solutions to the major problems our society has today.  

we should boost basic science

Option 4

Quantum technologies are very promising, but if they are to be effective, they require solid knowledge of their foundations. We should invest in fundamental research: a better understanding of the foundations of quantum physics will naturally lead to the development of its applications.

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