First, the good news: in real life, teleportation does not result in the accidental creation of terrifying bug-human hybrids, as it did to the hapless (and naked) Jeff Goldblum in the 1986 sci-fi gross-out flick, The Fly. This is because it’s not currently possible — and perhaps never possible — to teleport solid matter such as apples or spaceships or Jeff Goldblums from point A to point B, much less intermingle DNA with insects in the process. The Fly is just one example of where Hollywood has gotten teleportation spectacularly, entertainingly wrong. From Star Trek to Quantum Leap to Lost, teleportation is usually depicted as a presto-change-o vanishing act in which a protagonist fully dematerializes at the atomic level, then reassembles someplace in a galaxy far, far away.
The truth about teleportation, at least thus far, is less useful as a mode of intergalactic transportation but no less fascinating. A couple of weeks ago, the co-discoverer of quantum teleportation, Gilles Brassard, visited IQC to deliver a guest lecture. We sat down for a chat with Brassard about all things quantum, from quantum cryptography (he’s also a founding father of that) to the reality of quantum teleportation. Here’s a snippet: