Unexpected Elements

Unexpected Elements

BBC World Service

The news you know, the science you don’t. Unexpected Elements looks beyond everyday narratives to discover a goldmine of scientific stories and connections from around the globe. From Afronauts, to why we argue, to a deep dive on animal lifespans: see the world in a new way.

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These days, over a trillion semiconductor microchips are made and shipped each year. The industry is worth eye-watering amounts, and since the 2020-2023 global shortage, nearly all governments are trying to get a slice of the industrial wafer.

But what was it like just 40 years ago trying to get yourself a home computer when your communist leaders didn’t approve, and there were nowhere enough devices to go round anyway? Andrada Fiscutean spoke to some of the bootleggers.

These days, not only are computing devices in just about everyone’s hands, they are mostly interconnected to vast arrays of machines collectively forming “the cloud”, which provides so much of our economic and scientific infrastructure. It is no longer about stand alone computing.

But just maybe the deep future of computing lies in using individual atoms and photons as information-bearing digits. This is the basis of “quantum computing” which could use the properties and mechanics of the quantum scale to perform hugely complicated calculations in fractions of a second.

Prof David Lucas of Oxford University physics department and colleagues are building some key demonstrators of the techniques we need to master. And just recently, they built an impressive manifestation of “Blind Quantum Computing”, which just might enable something like the quantum cloud of the future.

Also, we have a look at an app for modern motorists that adjusts a piece of music to react to the movement of the car. Developed by Mercedes-AMG and the rapper Will.i.am, Christine Yohannes has been thinking about drivers becoming the musical maestros of their own journeys.

Presented by Alex Lathbridge, with Andrada Fiscutean and Christine Yohannes. Produced by Alex Mansfield, with Harrison Lewis and Tom Bonnett.

Vorherige Folgen

  • 438 - Computer memories and quantum futures 
    Fri, 19 Apr 2024
  • 437 - Beyoncé, banjos and dancing chemistry 
    Fri, 12 Apr 2024
  • 436 - Unexpected elections 
    Fri, 05 Apr 2024
  • 435 - G.O.A.T 
    Thu, 28 Mar 2024
  • 434 - Ancient water, modern solutions 
    Thu, 21 Mar 2024
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