100 years of quantum is just the beginning…

An international partnership of major scientific bodies and academies is preparing a resolution for the 2024 General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the 2024 General Assembly of the United Nations to proclaim 2025 the International Year of Quantum Science and Technology. This year-long initiative would celebrate the profound impacts of quantum science on technology, culture, and our understanding of the natural world.

The year 2025 has been proposed for this International Year as it recognizes 100 years since the initial development of quantum mechanics. Over the past century quantum science and technology has become more central to a wide variety of scientific and engineering fields ranging from physics, chemistry, material science, biology, and information science. It has enabled us to understand why the sun shines, how magnets work, why atoms stick together in chemical bonds, and how the pattern of galaxies in the universe formed. At the same time, it has led to some of the most profound technological developments of our age: the transistors at the heart of our electronics, the lasers underlying global telecommunication, and the LEDs that have created a revolution in lighting efficiency.

Looking forward, quantum science and technology will be the key cross-cutting scientific field of the 21st century, having a tremendous impact on critical societal challenges highlighted by the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, including climate, energy, food safety and security, and clean water. The most important step in finding new insights and new solutions will be inspiring young people, drawn from all over the world, to be the next generation of quantum pioneers who see beyond the surfaces and screens around them and use quantum science to make a positive difference in the lives of others. This proposed International Year will be an opportunity for young people — and curious people of any age — to learn more about all the ways quantum science underpins the physical world around us, drives technological innovation, and has influenced art and culture.

The project reached a key milestone in October 2021 when the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) at its 30th General Assembly endorsed the proposal. The IUPAP expressed “its strong support for International Year of Quantum Science and Technology goals that encompass science, education, outreach, and particularly its aims to promote physics education and improve the quality of life of citizens in the developing world.”