Leiden physicist Julia Cramer receives 50 thousand euros in funding for ‘Let’s talk about quantum’, a research project on communication about quantum computing. A project for high school students by education expert Henk Buisman is also included in the NEWA ELSA funding.
‘New technologies such as nanotechnology, nuclear energy or stem cell transplantation gave rise to societal debate’, says Julia Cramer. Often, the questions and concerns of the general public are quite different from those of scientists.
Quantum computing and quantum information technology are upcoming technologies, supported by massive efforts by scientists. Quantum mechanics is used to accelerate certain computations inherently, including AI-applications. The technology also offers new possibilities in secure communication.
‘One cannot say yet how the debate will unfold this time’, says Cramer. But it is to be expected that the shape of the information is important, as well as its being composed in a dialogue with broader audiences, instead of top-down from a scientist’s perspective, as has been traditional.
Cramers’ plan is to research how, and in which form, science communication aimed at laypeople can make a difference. A panel of ten laypeople will watch a professionally crafted video of about three minutes about quantum computing.
A control group will get the same infroamtion, but only as a text composed by scientists. The researchers aim to investigate what differences this makes.
Cramer will do the research in cooperation with a postdoctoral researcher, ethics expert Sabine Roeser of Delft University of Technology, technology philosopher Pieter Vermaas of Eindhoven University of Technology, and Leiden physicist Sense Jan van der Molen .
Part of the same 150 thousand euro funding package by NWO is a project by physicist and education expert Henk Buisman, who will work on an online quantum computer with high school students.