Using Minecraft To Teach Quantum Physics To Kids

Working with Caltech and MinecraftEdu, Google has released a mod for the popular world-building game that provides insights into quantum behavior.

What's the Latest Development?


New from Google, qCraft is a modpack for the popular world-building game Minecraft that introduces players to some of the concepts behind quantum physics. The company's Quantum AI Lab team got together with MinecraftEdu -- the organization that brings the game into schools -- and Caltech's Institute for Quantum Information and Matter to create the software, which contains "new blocks that exhibit quantum entanglement, superposition, and observer dependency."

What's the Big Idea?

The team explained its motivation in a Google+ post: "We built the Quantum A.I. Lab to explore the potential of quantum computing, and figure out what questions we should be asking. One question is clear: Where will future quantum computer scientists come from? Our best guess: Minecraft." They admit that, as a simulation, qCraft isn't perfect, but it provides a new and more interactive way to learn what can be a fairly daunting subject. When it comes to recruiting future scientists, they may be on to something: The game has sold over 33 million copies on a variety of platforms, and a survey of 2,000 kids ages 6-16 found that 13 percent called Minecraft their favorite mobile game, more than twice the number of those who preferred Angry Birds.

Photo Credit: Flickr/kjarrett

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