But 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.
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