Quantum of Solace

The new Bond film is going to be called Quantum of Solace, which is the title of a James Bond short story Ian Fleming wrote.  BBC News got my old Quantum Mechanics lecturer, Jim Al-Khalili to explain what a quantum is.

BBC News: For quant of a better word.

Max Planck first started using the term in 1900 as part of a theory of physics at the sub-atomic level. In this theory light could be thought about as tiny lumps of energy as well as just a continuous wave, says Jim Al-Khalili, professor of physics at Surrey University.  This idea of energy as tiny discrete particles was a major departure from classical physics and quantum theory was taken on by other notables such as Albert Einstein.  "It forms the foundation for most of modern physics and chemistry," says Prof Al-Khalili "We wouldn't have CD players, iPods and mobile phones if quantum theory hadn't been.  It is the most powerful theory in science."

He may be a tad biased there, quantum theory is his speciality.  He was my favourite lecturer at Surrey University, easy to listen to and he explained things well.

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