American Physical Society Leads Effort to Designate Year of Quantum

Forthcoming proposal to the United Nations receives key endorsement from international physics union

COLLEGE PARK, MD, October, 28, 2021 — The International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) has endorsed the American Physical Society’s (APS) proposal to have 2025 proclaimed as The International Year of Quantum Science and Technology. The year-long initiative would celebrate the profound impacts of quantum mechanics on science, technology, and culture.

Quantum mechanics is central to our understanding of the physical universe, from the behavior of subatomic particles to the distribution of galaxies in the cosmos. The International Year of Quantum Science and Technology would mark 100 years of scientific inquiry using quantum mechanics, which has led to technologies essential to everyday life, ranging from the laser to the transistor.

The IUPAP endorsed the proposal during its 30th General Assembly on October 21. APS, in partnership with the German Physical Society and many other supporting institutions, is preparing a resolution for the 2023 General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the 2023 General Assembly of the United Nations to proclaim 2025 the International Year of Quantum Science and Technology. UNESCO has previously recognized other areas of science in this way by proclaiming International Years of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements (2019), Light and Light-based Technologies (2015), and Crystallography (2014).

“The IUPAP Resolution is a tremendously significant international endorsement,” said Amy Flatten, APS Director of International Affairs. “IUPAP represents physicists worldwide and in passing this Resolution, the global physics community clearly spoke with a unified voice in support of 2025 as the International Year of Quantum Science and Technology.”

Lutz Schröter, president of the German Physical Society (DPG), added: “The DPG strongly supports the proclamation of the year 2025 as the International Year of Quantum Science and Technology by the United Nations. Quantum science had its heyday in the 1920s. It was mathematically described by Werner Heisenberg in the early summer of 1925 and thus became ‘calculable.’ Today, quantum mechanical phenomena form the basis for fundamental innovations in areas such as photonics and electronics, communication, chemistry, or life sciences and are of outstanding importance for the economy and the society.”

The essential contribution of quantum mechanics to all areas of science as well as critical applications to the security and prosperity of the modern world cannot be overstated, according to Joe Niemela, Chair-Elect of the APS Forum on International Physics.

"This is an opportunity to work together with partners around the world to raise global awareness of the enormous current impact and future promise of quantum science and technology in addressing critical challenges, including energy, communications, pharmacology and climate change,” said Niemela. “By promoting science education, outreach, and relevant technologies that can improve the quality of life of citizens everywhere, including remote regions off the grid, it is also a wonderful opportunity to emphasize the role of science as a common good for all humanity."

Niemela, a senior research scientist at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy, shared the 2016 Dwight Nicholson Medal for Outreach with John Dudley for their leadership of the International Year of Light.

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The American Physical Society is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. APS represents more than 50,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world.