A major theme in current theoretical physics is understanding the implications of quantum mechanics for the dynamics of composite systems. When sub-systems interact, they naturally become correlated. In the 1980s it was realised that by exploiting the correlations between quantum sub-systems it should be possible to (i) break current cryptographic systems by rapidly decomposing large numbers into their prime factors, and (ii) exchange confidential information in the secure knowledge that messages have not been intercepted. As we have become ever more dependent on the internet these explosive implications of quantum mechanics for cryptography have driven efforts to build quantum communication channels and quantum computers.

On June 30, to mark the completion of the Beecroft Building, the members of the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics, who occupy the building above ground, and the members of the Quantum Information Technology hub (NQIT), who are installing kit in many of its subterranean laboratories, will join forces to explain the basic principles underlying the quantum dynamics of composite systems and to describe the challenge of implementing quantum computation and cryptography practically.

In the afternoon there will be three talks from NQIT, which is led by Oxford University. A general introduction to the programme will be followed by two talks about using ion traps and photonics to build a quantum computer. There will also have a chance to see the new labs via exclusive video and an opportunity to questions NQIT researchers.

You will have an opportunity to explore the Beecroft Building (above ground) between 09.00-10.30.