A physics term describing the movement of an electron withing an atom from one energy state to another without passing through any intermediate levels. It was adopted into popular slang to refer to a sudden advance (especially in science or technology) that seems much more rapid than the normal evolution in that field. The term may also denote sudden, positive social shifts.
Leslie Iwerks produced the first synchronized-sound cartoon, "Steamboat Willie," which represented a quantum leap forward in animation technology.
The Gutenberg press, an invention featuring moveable type, represented a quantum leap forward for people in the 15th century.
Email represented a quantum leap forward in productivity in the 1990s.