Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The challenge and opportunities of quantum literacy for future education and transdisciplinary problem-solving

Nita, Laurentiu; Mazzoli Smith, Laura; Chancellor, Nicholas; Cramman, Helen

The challenge and opportunities of quantum literacy for future education and transdisciplinary problem-solving Thumbnail


Profile Image

Laur Nita
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy


Background Knowledge of quantum computing is arguably inaccessible to many, with knowledge of the complex mathematics involving a particular barrier to entry, creating difficulty in terms of teaching and inclusive learning for those without a high level of mathematics. Meanwhile, it is increasingly important that the knowledge of quantum technologies is accessible to those who work with real-world applications and is taught to the younger generation. Purpose Resulting from collaborative dialogue between physicists, computer scientists, educationalists, and industrial end users, we propose the concept of quantum literacy as one means of addressing the need for transdisciplinary research in response to the complex problems that we see at the heart of issues around global sustainability. In this way, quantum literacy can contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goal 4, Quality Education. Methods We introduce a specific puzzle visualization learning tool through which to achieve the pedagogic ends we set out with respect to quantum literacy. Visualization through puzzles can enable non-specialists to develop an intuitive, but still rigorous, understanding of universal quantum computation and provide a facility for non-specialists to discover increasingly complex and new quantum algorithms. Using the Hong–Ou–Mandel optical effect from quantum mechanics, we demonstrate how visual methods such as those made possible through the puzzle visualization tool can be very useful for understanding underlying complex processes in quantum physics and beyond and therefore support the aims of quantum literacy. Conclusion We argue that quantum literacy, as defined here, addresses the challenges of learning within a highly bounded discipline and of access to the kind of powerful knowledge that should be more accessible to a wide group of learners. We therefore argue for the importance of addressing pedagogic issues when powerful knowledge consists of dense concepts, as well as complex and hierarchical relations between concepts, in addition to presenting a strong barrier to entry in the form of mathematics.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date May 5, 2021
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date May 13, 2021
Publicly Available Date May 17, 2023
Journal Research in Science and Technological Education
Print ISSN 0263-5143
Electronic ISSN 1470-1138
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 41
Issue 2
Pages 564-580
Public URL


Published Journal Article (1.5 Mb)

Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations