The Majorana Particle & The Quantum Computer.

Majorana-fermion-detection-apparatusBut Ettore Majorana the person is every bit as mysterious as the particle. In 1938 he withdrew all his money and disappeared during a boat trip from Palermo to Naples. Whether he killed himself, was murdered or lived on under a different identity is still not known. No trace of Majorana was ever found.

Today a slight digression, but one that will lead to the  quantum computer, and via the quantum computer, essentially a super-computer’s computer, to the fastest technology advance by mankind since mankind arrived on planet earth.  The next decade 2020 onwards, will see nanotechnology, graphene, and rare earth elements combine to transform mankind’s quality of life beyond all measure. I suspect that it will also finally usher in the era of cheap abundant electricity and equally important, abundant potable water for all.

With abundant water and energy, the 21st century might finally be the first century in our history to make poverty and starvation a scourge of the past like polio and smallpox.  Not a slight digression, perhaps but a giant digression. Dare to dream on the 21st century.

On the Border Between Matter and Anti-Matter: Nanoscientists Find Long-Sought Majorana Particle
ScienceDaily (Apr. 13, 2012) — Scientists at TU Delft's Kavli Institute and the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM Foundation) have succeeded for the first time in detecting a Majorana particle. In the 1930s, the brilliant Italian physicist Ettore Majorana deduced from quantum theory the possibility of the existence of a very special particle, a particle that is its own anti-particle: the Majorana fermion. That 'Majorana' would be right on the border between matter and anti-matter.

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Nanoscientist Leo Kouwenhoven already caused great excitement among scientists in February by presenting the preliminary results at a scientific congress. Today, the scientists have published their research in Science. The research was financed by the FOM Foundation and Microsoft.

—- Furthermore, scientists view the particles as fundamental building blocks for the quantum computer. Such a computer is far more powerful than the best supercomputer, but only exists in theory so far. Contrary to an 'ordinary' quantum computer, a quantum computer based on Majorana fermions is exceptionally stable and barely sensitive to external influences.

For the first time, scientists in Leo Kouwenhoven's research group managed to create a nanoscale electronic device in which a pair of Majorana fermions 'appear' at either end of a nanowire. They did this by combining an extremely small nanowire, made by colleagues from Eindhoven University of Technology, with a superconducting material and a strong magnetic field. "The measurements of the particle at the ends of the nanowire cannot otherwise be explained than through the presence of a pair of Majorana fermions," says Leo Kouwenhoven.

Kavli Institute Link

Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter   link

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Alessandro Bruno

About Alessandro Bruno

Alessandro Bruno holds a BA, MA. He has worked for the United Nations in Libya and specialized in Middle Eastern, African, and South American affairs. Alessandro has worked as an industry analyst, lived and worked abroad extensively and is fluent in English, Italian, Spanish and French with a working knowledge of Portuguese, Arabic and German.
  1. Interesting you should discuss Majorana; my uncle teaches mathematics at the same faculty where the Sicilian physicist taught at the University of Naples, who studied under Enrico Fermi. As for his disappearance, if you’re interested, Leonardo Sciascia, one of the most famous Italian writers of the 20th century, wrote a book about Majorana’s disappearance (“la scomparsa di Majorana”), suggesting that he went into a monastery.

  2. Thanks Alessandro
    Given his association and friendship with Heisenberg, there may be a more sinister twist. GB in collaboration with Canada, was in an early nuclear race with Germany to develop the atom bomb. It’s quite possible that some secret service knocked him off as too dangerous to leave to the wrong side. Once America entered the war, late as usual, Churchill transfered everything over to the American project. They had greater financing, space, and most importantly weren’t subject to bombing. Much was tranfered to Canada during the Battle of Britain so as not to fall into Nazi hands if Britain fell. Putting his name into Google produces some interesting results.

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