Quantum mechanics is usually associated with weird and counterintuitve phenomena we can't observe in real life. But it turns out that quantum processes can occur in living organisms, too, and with very concrete consequences. Some species of birds use quantum mechanics to navigate. And as Plus found out at a recent conference, studying these little creatures' quantum compass may help us achieve the holy grail of computer science: building a quantum computer.
Emily Poskett works as a government statistician for the Department for International Development. With lots of travel and the opportunity to make a real difference in poorer countries, her job is far more than just number crunching.