Quantum Tech

2025: International Year of Quantum Science and Technology

10th June 2024
Sheryl Miles

United Nations General Assembly declares 2025 International Year of Quantum Science and Technology (IYQ) to mark 100 years after Heisenberg, Born, and Jordan developed matrix mechanics and Schrödinger formulated wave mechanics.

The United Nations has officially recognised the importance and potential of quantum technologies after a General Assembly meeting declared 2025 as the International Year of Quantum Science and Technology (IYQ) – a global collaboration that aims to strengthen national capacities in the basic sciences and science education.

The year-long initiative will celebrate the impacts of quantum science on technology, culture, and our understanding of the natural world while marking a century since Erwin Schrödinger developed wave mechanics and Werner Heisenberg, Max Born, and Pascual Jordan developed matrix mechanics.

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market of the European Union, said: “Quantum technologies have a great potential to accelerate progress towards achieving a more sustainable and equitable world, and this is now formally acknowledged beyond the scientific community.”

Since Planck, Einstein, Bohr and the first European scientists laid the foundation for the First Quantum Revolution in the early 1900s, quantum mechanics has contributed to many advancements in physics, chemistry, material science, biology, and information science. Thanks to our understanding of the fundamental building blocks of our universe, we can now build extremely precise sensors that reveal structures under the ground and map the bottom of the sea or detect changes in the human body that are invisible to today’s medical scanners.

“Quantum Science was born in Europe about a century ago, and today, Europe remains at the forefront of the new quantum revolution”, said Yasser Omar, President of PQI – Portuguese Quantum Institute, who will be representing the Quantum Flagship in IYQ. “The World Quantum Day, celebrated yearly on 14 April, actually leads to celebrations in all continents from March to May. Europe has been actively engaging through the World Quantum Day initiative and will expand those activities throughout 2025.”

With Europe’s Quantum Flagship involved in the steering of the IYQ and EU countries supportive of this UN declaration, the international quantum initiative highlights the crucial role Europe has played in advancing quantum research and underscores the importance of the EU’s continued investment in this transformative field.

“Throughout next year, projects from Europe’s Quantum Flagship initiative working on quantum computing, simulation, communication, sensing, and metrology will be showcasing their results. We now look forward to the upcoming International Year of Quantum and the opportunity to engage with society throughout the year to disseminate and discuss the latest developments in Quantum Science and Technology.,” he added, ending with a challenge: “We invite all stakeholders to answer our brief survey, to start preparing the activities for IYQ!”, Omar said.

Quantum Innovations for SDGs

By marking 2025 as a major milestone in the history of quantum mechanics, the United Nations has recognised the transformative potential of quantum science and technology to develop sustainable solutions in energy, education, communications, and human health.

The UN regards quantum science and technology research and development as relevant to achieving the Sustainability Development Goals with the ability to advance health and well-being, inequality reduction, industry and infrastructure, economic growth, climate action, and clean energy.

Health and well-being are being advanced with quantum photonics, which provides rapid, clean detection solutions in medical imaging and diagnosis, while quantum chemistry is supporting the development of new vaccines and drugs. In industry and infrastructure, quantum engineering is leading to more energy-efficient and affordable solar cells, as well as low-emission LED light sources. For climate action, quantum physics is enabling scientists to develop next-generation sensors for environmental monitoring, while quantum processors are being developed to improve the accuracy of long-term climate models.

The declaration follows a successful resolution for the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the 2023 General Assembly of the United Nations, which was put forward by the American Physical Society (APS) and the German Physical Society (DPG) in November last year.

The IYQST follows past UNESCO recognition of scientific fields, such as the International Years of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements (2019), Light and Light-based Technologies (2015), and Crystallography (2014).

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