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Quest for Quantum

Quest for Quantum

Author: Gay Ellyett
Author Role: Coordinator Exceptional Scientists' Program

On Tuesday 23 June, all senior Physics students and two keen Year 11s attended The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation's (ANSTO) free Quest for Quantum webinar. Students heard from a panel of experts including Professor Michelle Simmons (2019 Australian of the Year), Dr Catherine Foley (Chief Scientist CSIRO) and Dr Kirrily Rule (ANSTO) about topics including spin physics, quantum computing and the future of quantum devices. A Q&A session followed the presentations. 

Student reflections 

"The ANSTO Quest for Quantum webinar was fantastic! It started with Dr Kirrily Rule explaining some quantum mechanical concepts and how they use the Lucas Heights facility to conduct research. She touched on the theory of spintronics (changing the vector direction spin of electrons and transmitting that rather than moving electrons which have a mass). Then she talked about finding monopole magnets and her progress in that area. Michelle Simmons was the second speaker and talked about the Silicon Quantum Computing Company – the most successful Australian quantum computing company. It was very complex and hard to grasp but the applications that she explained were very interesting. She went into a lot of detail about the advantages and the future of quantum computing. Catherine Foley from the CSIRO talked at the end about turning the research into an economic opportunity or business to apply it to real-world applications."

Matthew Sloman, Year 11

"This event was really interesting. It covered part of what goes on at ANSTO, the basics of spin and how it is used in quantum computing, and the quantum industry in Australia and what needs to happen in the future to keep the industry here. There was also an interesting segment on single-pole magnets and how they haven’t been created yet, but it is possible to move the poles so far apart from each other that they appear to be single-pole magnets, using an anti-ferrous magnet lattice and spins of parts of the lattice. It went on for longer than I expected but was interesting the whole way through. It built on what I already knew of quantum physics, and while it didn’t go particularly in-depth on any of the topics, it has made me more interested in quantum mechanics and computing and helped me connect a few dots in my head. I’m glad I attended the webinar!"

Rebecca Leonard, Year 11