A question of physics

Maple Ridge secondary student Eugenia Khramtsova will spend eight days in August at a quantum physics camp at the University of Waterloo.

Eugenia Khramtsova is off to Quantum Cryptography School at the University of Waterloo this summer.

When an argument breaks out in the Khramtsova household, it is not about the usual mundane drama.

The fact that sometimes rain drops fall faster than the speed of light can send Eugenia Khramtsova and her mother into a full-on feud.

Rain drops can fall up to 10 times faster than the speed of light, a fact based on a simple principle of quantum physics, Eugenia said.

But her mom would beg to differ.

“Mom likes to disagree with quantum physics,” Eugenia explains with a smile.

She will be heading to the Quantum Cryptography School for Young Students in Grades 11 to 12 at the University of Waterloo this summer.

Not only is she one of the youngest to be accepted into the summer program, as she is only in Grade 10, but is just one of 42 students accepted out of 5,000 applicants from around the world.

She will spend eight days in August attending lectures, doing hands-on experiments and group work, which will focus on quantum cryptography, a field that uses quantum mechanics to develop unbreakable encryption to protect communication.

Eugenia comes from a family with a history in the sciences. Her mom used to be a nuclear scientist and her dad a physicist, both schooled in classical physics.

As the self-described black sheep of the family, Eugenia only recently realized she was more interested in quantum physics.

“It’s a very different way of thinking,” explained the Maple Ridge secondary student.

“Classical physics, everything is set. You know, all the rules have been made. Everything works this way. There’s this formula to find out this. There’s no to it, ‘might be here or there.’ It’s like, ‘It will definitely be here or it will definitely be there.’ There’s no in between,” Eugenia added.

“With quantum physics, it could be here, it could be there, it could be neither. It could be behind me, it could be, like, three kilometres away. I don’t know. It’s much more entertaining than classical physics,” she continued.

Eugenia has also written an introductory paper to quantum physics for beginners, which was approved by two professors at Simon Fraser University.

What she really likes about the University of Waterloo camp is that participants are treated like university students.

Since she is still in high school, Eugenia does all her learning from books or online resources. But she would much prefer to learn from teachers in person, rather than trying to decipher pages of words, Greek symbols, letters and italics.

“I remember once opening a mid-level quantum physics book. I was at UBC and I just opened it up and the first thought that came to mind was, ‘Great, it’s written in ring-dings. Perfect,’” she said.

Quantum physics challenges a lot of people, but for Eugenia, it comes effortlessly.

“For me, it’s really simple to think that atoms go from point A to point B in every single way possible at the same time. That’s definitely what they do. It’s just easy for me to think that way,” she said.

Just Posted

Bard on the Bandstand returns with Shakespeare at the circus

Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows production features gender reversed roles.

Maple Ridge residents clean up fire pit

Spend the weekend hauling out trash from Cottonwood area

Train horns falling silent in Maple Ridge

30-day transition period underway

Maple Ridge actress in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Melissa Harris part of Bard in the Valley cast.

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Plane veers off runway, into ditch at Langley Airport

Fire, ambulance, and police are on scene

Okanagan RCMP bike patrol rolls up on alleged stolen vehicle from Burnaby

The driver, a 30-year-old Kelowna man, has been held in custody and is facing possible charges of possession of stolen property and obstructing a police officer

Most Read