From Quantum Cryptography:
The idea of QC was first proposed only in the 1970’s by Wiesner (1983) and by Charles H. Bennett from IBMand Gilles Brassard fromMontr´eal University (1984, 1985). However, this idea is so simple that actually every first year student since the infancy of quantum mechanics could have discovered it! Nevertheless, it is only nowadays that the matter is mature and information security important enough, and – interestingly – only nowadays that physicists are ready to consider quantum mechanics, not only as a strange theory good for paradoxes, but also as a tool for new engineering. Apparently, information theory, classical cryptography, quantum physics and quantum optics had first to develop into mature sciences. It is certainly not a coincidence that QC and, more generally, quantum information has been developed by a community including many computer scientists and more mathematics oriented young physicists. A broader interest than traditional physics was needed.
I have been researching on this subject for 3 semesters now. Cryptography and quantum mechanics have always amazed me. The idea that a set of negative rules stating things that cannot be done can one day become a standard for secure communication have always intrigued me. Currently, this is used mainly to transfer keys to create a strong encryption. While the quantum machine continues to exist only in the physicists’ minds, QC proves that it may, one day, be possible. And when that day comes, the public key infrastracture will stumble, taking one-time pads even further.