2002 – Human-powered Mechanical Elephant – Caltech (American)

The Quantum-Classical Transition on Trial: Is the Whole More Than the Sum of the Parts?
by Hideo Mabuchi

One quote that I really like came from my thesis adviser, Jeff Kimble (the Valentine Professor and professor of physics), and appeared on page 2 of the February 18, 1997, New York Times as the Quotation of the Day. On progress in the field of quantum computing, Jeff said: “Theory is way ahead of experiment. It’s like Hannibal trying to cross the Alps. We’d really like to run ahead and see what’s on top, but we have all these elephants to deal with.” Jeff is referring to trying to build something that’s fairly large and make it behave quantum mechanically.

Not exactly Hannibal and the Alps—or quantum computing—but Caltech students have dealt with experimental elephants, as demonstrated here. The walking (sometimes) mechanical elephant appeared on Ditch Day, May 22, 2002



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