quantum leap

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Maybe Calque of Danish kvantespring.



quantum leap (plural quantum leaps)

  1. (physics) The discontinuous change of the state of an electron in an atom or molecule from one energy level to another.
  2. An abrupt, extreme change. (metaphorical)
    • 2001, Helene Ciaravino, How to Pray: Tapping Into the Power of Divine Communication, page 33,
      In the end, perhaps the practice of prayer effects a quantum leap of its own kind. It takes us, spontaneously and unexplainably, into the realm of spiritual energy.
    • 2010, Dan Wilson, Supernatural Marriage: The Joy of Spirit-Led Intimacy, page 187,
      The addition of power from God through connectedness with the Holy Spirit results in a quantum leap in our ability to accomplish the will of God in our daily lives.
    • 2010, December 18, Tim Stevenson, Opinion: Letters, in New Scientist,
      However, if we reject any theory that falls short of this ideal, science will have to progress in quantum leaps, each with infinitesimal probability.


  • quantum jump
    • 1995, Richard Rhodes, chapter 19, in Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb:
      In Italy on a long summer leave, William [T.] Golden had a different response: […] But one thing I wrote him was, "We, the USA, should intensify our efforts toward development of superweapons. […] A quantum jump in intensity is called for as a matter of urgency comparable in every way to the wartime Manhattan Project." […] [Lewis L.] Strauss liked the phrase "quantum jump" and the idea of a new Manhattan Project. He began to compose a memorandum. […] Instead, echoing Golden, Strauss proposed [on October 5, 1949]: It seems to me that the time has now come for a quantum jump in our planning (to borow a metaphor from our scientist friends)—that is to say, that we should now make an intensive effort to get ahead with the super [a.k.a. the H-bomb].

Related terms[edit]