By Jennifer Ouellette

(Gizmodo) – When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau schooled a journalist on the basics of quantum computing yesterday, I was initially as charmed and delighted as everyone else. But then a niggling sense of dismay set in. Why should this be such a singular newsworthy event? How come so few of us can do what Trudeau did, when science plays such a central role in almost every aspect of our daily lives?

Trudeau made the remarks during a press briefing at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario, announcing $50 million in funding to continue its world-class cutting-edge research in fundamental physics—including quantum information, a theoretical cornerstone of quantum computing. (Perimeter is one of a handful of institutions that make up Canada’s “Quantum Valley.”) A journalist in the audience jokingly said, “I was going to ask you to explain quantum computing, but…. haha…” The subtext: We are all too dumb to really grasp this esoteric thing—that is only for really smart people with PhDs.

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