0129ctt quantum chess lo res

[Image above] Stephen Hawking v. Paul Rudd. Credit: IQIM Caltech; YouTube

In addition to his ideas on nanotechnology, the famed physicist Richard Feynman also pioneered quantum science—his work laid the groundwork for quantum computing and helped develop quantum electrodynamics, the latter of which earned him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965.

Feynman did much more, too. According to Feynman.com, he was a “scientist, teacher, raconteur, and musician. He assisted in the development of the atomic bomb, expanded the understanding of quantum electrodynamics, translated Mayan hieroglyphics, and cut to the heart of the Challenger disaster. But beyond all of that, Richard Feynman was a unique and multi-faceted individual.”

In addition to a clever mind, unique and multi-faceted are attributes that help make a great scientist

So to honor the legendary physicist and his quantum legacy, California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, Calif.) recently held a fun two-day event all about quantum science.

The first night of the Caltech event began with a public science and entertainment program called “One Engtangled Evening.” Attendees heard scientific experts pay homage to Feynman and share their visions of the future.

“What sparked the idea for a celebratory event was the realization that Richard Feynman received the Nobel Prize in Physics 50 years ago last month,” says John Preskill, Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics and director of the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter at Caltech, in a Caltech news release. “Aside from being a great scientist, Feynman was legendary for his success at conveying the excitement of science to broad audiences. We’ll be doing appropriate homage to Feynman if ‘One Entangled Evening’ turns out to be entertaining as well as inspiring for the audience.”

0129ctt quantum entanglement

Good luck explaining this graphical depiction of a holographic code, which models the emergence of space-time from quantum entanglement. It’s pretty, though. Credit: Margaret Sanchez

Conveying the excitement of science is no easy task, but it’s a task that is fundamentally important for science and for society. And conveying the excitement of quantum science? That’s an especially difficult task, given the complexity of the subject. But Feynman understood the importance of this translation, and, conveniently, he was pretty good at it, too.

Of course, making the translation entertaining and using some familiar faces always helps to engage the audience. So that’s exactly what Caltech did when it debuted the video below at its entangled event. The institution tapped Stephen Hawking, Paul Rudd, and Keanu Reeves (and a cameo by Reeves’s Bill & Ted costar Alex Winter) to help deliver an important message—anyone can quantum.

See for yourself.

Credit: IQIM Caltech; YouTube

For more recap and photos of the Caltech event, click here. And to learn more about quantum chess, head over here.