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York Festival of Ideas
Quantum properties are often perceived in popular culture as either spooky and impenetrable or futuristic. In reality, and for decades now, the world has been enjoying a wide array of technological advancements fundamentally reliant on quantum mechanics: lasers, superconductors, MRI scanners, and of course transistors which underpin modern IT infrastructure in its entirety.
Our panel of experts will introduce the current state of affairs in quantum technologies and offer a glimpse of tangible applications that will transform everyday life: driverless vehicles; cameras that see around corners and through solid walls (and inside the human body); supercomputers that can develop and test new drugs outside the lab; sensors that could predict earthquakes and monitor climate change; gravimeters that could illuminate the underworld, increase productivity in infrastructure projects and search for new mineral resources; and secure communications that cannot be intercepted.
In 2013, the UK Government invested £270m in a national quantum technologies programme to realise the potential of quantum for the economy. Join Steve Beaumont of the University of Glasgow, Kai Bongs of the University of Birmingham,Winfried Hensinger of the University of Sussex and Tim Spiller of the University of York to find out more about the transformative effect of quantum in everyday life.
Professor Steve Beaumont is theDirector ofQuantIC (the UK Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Enhanced Imaging) and Vice Principal Emeritus at the University of Glasgow. His portfolio of responsibilities includes academic lead for the Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems (CENSIS); chairing and holding non-executive directorships on the boards of a number of the University’s spinout companies; principal investigator on strategic research grants and leading on projects associated with Glasgow’s campus development. A Chartered Engineer, he is a member of the Innovation Scotland Forum. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) in 2000, and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2007.
Professor Kai Bongs is Director of the UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology, where he drives the translation of gravity sensors and ultra-precise clocks into technology and applications in climate, communications, energy, transport and urban development. He is also the lead for the Midlands Ultra cold Atom Research Centre at the University of Birmingham. He undertook his PhD in Physics at the University of Hanover. He has 125 publications and four patents/patent applications. At the beginning of this year, he was made Editor-in-Chief for the European Physical Journal (Quantum Technologies). He is also a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Fellow, as well as a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
Winfried K. Hensinger is a Professor of Quantum Technologies at the University of Sussex. He heads the Sussex Ion Quantum Technology Group and is the Director of the Sussex Centre for Quantum Technologies. He produced the first ion trap microchip in the world and more recently, his group developed a new generation of quantum microchips featuring world record specifications. In 2016, Winfried and his group invented a ground-breaking new approach to quantum computing where voltages applied to a quantum computer microchip can replace billions of laser beams which would have been required in previous proposals of how to build a quantum computer. He recently published the first practical blueprint for building a large-scale quantum computer, and his group is now working on the construction of such a device.
Professor Tim Spiller moved to the University of York in 2014 as founding Director of the York Centre for Quantum Technologies and he is now also Director of the UK Quantum Communications Hub. Before this, he was at the University of Leeds in the roles of Head of the Quantum Information Group and Director of Research for the School of Physics and Astronomy. Prior to 2009, Tim was Director of Quantum Information Processing (QIP) Research at HP Labs Bristol – an activity that he established in 1995 – and a Hewlett-Packard Distinguished Scientist. He has spent 35 years researching quantum theory, superconducting systems and quantum hardware and technologies. He led HP’s strategy on the commercialisation of QIP research, is an inventor on 25 patents linked to quantum technologies and applications, and was additionally a consultant inside HP on networking, communications and nanotechnology.
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This event is part of the Explorations in Science and Technology festival theme. Also in this theme: