Congratulations to ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems alumnus Dr Ivan Kassal who last night was awarded the Australian Institute of Policy and Science's annual Young Tall Poppy Science Award in recognition of his achievements. 

The Award winners (‘Tall Poppies’) participate in education and community outreach programs in which they become role models to inspire school students and the broader community about the possibilities of science.

Dr Kassal said that he was delighted to receive this award. 

Dr Kassal said, "I look forward to working with AIPS to further their mission to engage the Australian public with science. I also look forward to visiting schools as part of the Tall Poppy Campaign, because I think it's important to inspire young people to take up careers in science, especially on the critical problem of ensuring a clean and sustainable energy supply." 

As a theorist working at the intersection of chemistry, biophysics, energy science, and materials science, Dr Kassal has pioneered the application of quantum computing to chemistry, showing that quantum computers could solve chemical problems much faster than conventional computers.

This work has been described as a “killer app”, because it will likely be the first problem where quantum computers outperform classical ones. Collaborating with experimentalists, he demonstrated the first calculation of a chemical problem—the hydrogen molecule—on a photonic quantum computer. 

Dr Kassal also studies light harvesting in molecular assemblies—from photosynthetic complexes to organic solar cells—with the ultimate goal of creating low-cost materials to power our future. He has developed new simulation tools that enable him to answer the long-standing question of whether quantum coherence plays a role in biological light harvesting and to identify quantum effects that could be exploited to enhance efficiency. 

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