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Can Quantum Physics be weaponized?

  1. May 10, 2010 #1
    Are there any theoretical applications of quantum physics that could in the future lead to weapons in the same way that special relativity led to nuclear weapons?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 10, 2010 #2


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    Quantum physics was more important to the development of nuclear weapons than special relativity.
  4. May 10, 2010 #3
    How was that?
  5. May 11, 2010 #4


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    The properties of nuclei, the scattering of slow neutrons, the processes of nuclear fission and fusion are all studied using quantum mechanics, with no special relativity entering.
  6. May 11, 2010 #5
    Putting nukes aside: Modern chemistry is strongly grounded in quantum physics. I don't know whether any explosive material has been really discovered using QM directly, but this is possible.

    Also: There is a weapon similar to microwave oven, that heats human temperature receptors. Lasers and radars are also used as weapons. There are also "invisible" materials, that don't reflect radio waves. In some weapon sights, holograms are used. There is something called EMP bomb. Plus, all our weaponry is guided by computers made of transistors.

    So yes, QM has beed weaponized.

    As for General Relativity - it's used in GPS system that originally has been designed to guide missiles.
  7. May 11, 2010 #6
    Special relativity discovered that a small amount of mass could produce an enormous amount of energy.

    QM was the science behind releasing that energy.
  8. May 11, 2010 #7
    Beyond the Nuclear Bomb, Fission Bomb I should say, I suppose the future of Fusion or the possibilities that Cold Fusion bings along could also become weaponised in the same way.
  9. May 12, 2010 #8
    I heard some mention that a Bose-Einstein condensate could be weaponized, but I don't see how that's supposed to work. Is that just nonsense?
  10. May 14, 2010 #9
    The laser is a huge application of quantum physics, too.
  11. May 15, 2010 #10
    Thats true...although I don't think we have suitable power soures for weaponized (assuming weaponized means high intensity) lasers just yet. Possibly with fusion power? On the subject....Light Sabers, possible or impossible?
  12. May 15, 2010 #11
    Not just weapons, but weapons research, such as the NIF.
  13. May 16, 2010 #12
    Do not expect a direct, all-informative answer.

    Many advanced weapons/systems utilizing quantum physics are "hush-hush"
    Nature of the beast...
  14. May 16, 2010 #13
    Let us be blunt: potatoes can be weaponized, so it is safe to assume that the fruit of a branch of physics can too. :wink:
  15. May 17, 2010 #14


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    But potatoes are vegetables :redface:

    (or not, but I always lumped them in with the vegetables in my head)
  16. May 18, 2010 #15
    I think they are tubers, compared to carrots which are taproots. I don't know if that makes them veg. Either way, they make dandy weapons with some PVC and idle hands :biggrin:
  17. May 18, 2010 #16
  18. May 18, 2010 #17
    See posts 5 and 9.
  19. May 18, 2010 #18
    Quantum computers used in cryptanalysis.
  20. May 18, 2010 #19
    Probably don't exist now, but yeah, that would be one hell of a weapon. It wasn't based on qubits, but I always consider how potentially prescient the movie "Sneakers" was.
  21. May 21, 2010 #20
    Sharks with freaking laser beams attached to the fins!
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