Quantum Quotes

Whenever I attend a talk, I carry with me a blue notebook and a pen. Not trusting my already saturated memory, I use them to write down anything about the presentation that I want to remember. These annotations are usually scientific and technical, but every once in a while, the presenter will come up with a witty remark that I can’t help but to include in my notes.

In this post, I want to share this collection of quotes, overheard at some of the many quantum talks I have sat down in. Whenever possible– i.e. when I actually wrote it down– I will include the speaker’s name next to the quote. Please keep in mind that the sentences are not a literal translation of the words spoken, but only my best attempt at a faithful reproduction.


“Your career path most likely will not be a straight line.” Crystal Bailey.

“Since I’m mostly talking to experimentalists…”

“Free entanglement is like free love, it changed the world.” Nilanjana Datta.

“Infinite precision is a bad approximation.” Ish Dhand.

“To understand the Hong-Ou-Mandel dip, we should think in terms of singlets and triplets.” Barry Sanders.

“Immanants have relevance to the quantum world.” Barry Sanders.

“Shifting problems is a good strategy. Either problems go away or they become someone else’s problem.” Norbert Lütkenhaus.

“We do a theory experiment, of course.” Norbert Lütkenhaus.

“And now quantum mechanics is only in our heads.” Norbert Lütkenhaus.

“Let’s hope there is enough coffee for that!” Norbert Lütkenhaus.

“The uncertainty relation is the monogamy of entanglement.” Renato Renner.

“We don’t do calculations, we just think.” Norbert Lütkenhaus.

“It’s the typical situation, if you see something you don’t expect in an experiment, you just pretend it didn’t happen.” Norbert Lütkenhaus.

“Don’t think that device-independent gets rid of the problem: there is always modelling involved. We cannot avoid engineering best practices.” Norbert Lütkenhaus.

“Not something someone my age or younger should ignore.” Michele Mosca.

“The case for QKD needs to be studied and articulated credibly and clearly.” Michele Mosca.

“I know that entanglement is not going to solve the world’s problems.” Michele Mosca.

“Unconditional security, security based on physics: Vadim (Makarov) can break them. Even if Vadim does not exist, realistic implementations might not have security.” Renato Renner.

“In classical cryptography, it is impossible to quantify the probability that a scheme will be broken. This quantity is not computable.” Renato Renner.

“A plane that doesn’t fly, usually doesn’t crash.” Renato Renner.

“Proof by reconstruction.”

“Any printing device a good guy can build, a sufficiently determined bad guy can build too.” Scott Aaronson.

“It is impossible to make anything fool-proof, because fools are so ingenious.” Krister Shalm.

“Everybody wants it, but nobody wants to pay for it.” (In reference to practical QKD systems.)

“Everything is negotiable (if you have leverage).”

“We are trying simultaneously to determine both what the theory predicts and what the theory is. Are we smart enough to do this?” John Preskill.

“The relative entropy appears everywhere in information theory.” David Reeb.

“Can we store a qubit forever?” Mikhail Lukin.

“Enclanglement.” Maris Ozols.

“Quantical Mechanics.” Maris Ozols.

“It is hard to build a quantum machine that can beat my codes.” Matthias Troyer.

“The resolution to Maxwell’s demon paradox is to interpret all probabilities as subjective.” Renato Renner.

“Some problems are better solved if you take a different approach.” Giannicola Sarpa.

“I’m going to start with a really long motivation.” Ivette Fuentes.

“It’s laughable how easy it is.” Ivette Fuentes.





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