What do you know about the stranger side of physics? Take the quiz.

CORRECT ANSWERS: 0

Most people hear the words "quantum mechanics" and run in the other direction. Not you, though, intrepid knowledge seeker. So let's see what you know about the stranger side of physics.

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Question 1 of 10

Albert Einstein was the first person to make a major discovery in the field of quantum mechanics.

Fact
Fiction

... Einstein was the first to propose the theory of relativity, which describes how the universe behaves at a very large scale. German physicist Max Planck is widely considered to be the father of quantum mechanics, which explores the very smallest particles of matter.

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Question 2 of 10

The laser, which operates using some of the fundamental properties of quantum mechanics, was originally developed for the military.

Fact
Fiction

... The laser came about through the effort of research teams from a number of academic institutions and private companies, but none of them had a military application (or any practical application, for that matter) in mind. In fact, the laser was once described as "a solution looking for a problem."

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Question 3 of 10

Quantum cryptography provides a way to transmit encrypted messages with absolute security.

Fact
Fiction

... Although quantum cryptography is, in theory, capable of delivering encrypted messages with 100 percent security, the reality is a different story. Would-be spies can manipulate the equipment used to send and decode quantum keys and, in the process, intercept secret messages.

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Question 4 of 10

With the help of quantum entanglement, teleportation is possible.

Fact
Fiction

... While scientists are nowhere close to developing teleportation devices, researchers at IBM have shown that, at least in theory, teleportation is possible. The bad news? The object being teleported is destroyed in the process, leaving only a copy of the original object in its place.

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Question 5 of 10

Flash memory drives rely on quantum tunneling to erase data.

Fact
Fiction

... When you erase the contents of a flash memory drive, you're actually employing one of the stranger properties of the quantum world -- the ability of particles to pass through barriers -- in the process.

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Question 6 of 10

There's no limit to how fast computers can get.

Fact
Fiction

... Although computer processors have made steady increases in power over the past half a century, eventually the transistors on computer chips will get so small that the effects of quantum mechanics will impede their operation. Nobody is quite sure when this will happen, but some estimate it could be as soon as 2020.

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Question 7 of 10

The first transistor-based computers were much faster than their vacuum-tube equivalents.

Fact
Fiction

... The first transistor-based computer was a little slower than other computers in its day, but as researchers began to better understand the quantum properties of semiconductors, the computers quickly made vacuum-tube computers obsolete.

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Question 8 of 10

There's no way to predict lottery numbers.

Fact
Fiction

... It's certainly difficult, but if we had enough information about the lottery balls, we could actually simulate the outcome of the drawing before it occurs. To generate truly random numbers, researchers use the entirely unpredictable behavior of the quantum world.

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Question 9 of 10

Quantum "noise" is the biggest obstacle to developing more practical uses for quantum mechanics.

Fact
Fiction

... Quantum noise can be a problem in some cases, throwing off the accuracy of atomic clocks, for instance. But researchers have also used quantum noise to develop everything from random number generators to astoundingly accurate thermometers.

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Question 10 of 10

Quantum computing processors will be able to process binary commands exponentially faster than current computers.

Fact
Fiction

... Quantum computers won't actually use binary code at all. That's because the qubits at the core of quantum computers will be able to hold more values than simply "1" or "0."

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