The EQUS 2023 Annual Workshop took place in sunny Fremantle/Walyalup, the traditional lands of the Whadjuk people, with over 150 registrations to attend. The EQUS Annual Workshop is the primary forum for collaboration and exchange of ideas between EQUS members.
Many thanks to everyone—attendees, speakers, poster presenters and three-minute thesis presenters—it was fabulous to hear about all our research and portfolio activities this year, and to discuss them at length.
The workshop featured stimulating keynote talks by EQUS Alumna Dr Arghavan Safavi-Naini (University of Amsterdam), Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) member Professor Kae Nemoto (Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology), and Chief Investigator Professor Tom Stace and Dr Russell Manfield (UQ).
As well as our students, Research Fellows and Chief Investigators, we were delighted to be joined in-person by SAC Chair Professor Sir Peter Knight, SAC members Professor Rainer Blatt and Professor Kae Nemoto, Advisory Committee (AC) Chair Professor Christine Williams and AC member Professor Jim Williams. We were also joined by distinguished guest Professor Ben Travaglione, Quantum Computing Leader with the Defence Science and Technology Group and Adjunct Professor at The University of Western Australia.
On the final night, we held our Awards Dinner, which provides the Centre Executive an opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding performance of our members and recognise the contributions they make to EQUS. Congratulations go to Dr Kerstin Beer and PhD student Tim Newman for receiving the Director’s Medal and Centre Citizen awards, respectively.
On the final day of the workshop, the Directorate met with the AC and SAC members to review and discuss the great research EQUS has conducted in 2023, our plans for 2024 and our ongoing legacy after EQUS finishes.
Walking back to the conference venue after the Welcome to Country
The recipients of the 2023 EQUS Awards are as follows.
Director’s Medal: Kerstin Beer
The Director’s Medal is presented to a researcher who not only exhibits the spirit of collaborative enquiry required to advance research in quantum physics but also goes above and beyond to assist with service activities within the Centre.
Kerstin Been is a Deborah Jin Fellow at Macquarie University, where her research focuses on quantum error correction and quantum machine learning. She received a 2023 EQUS Collaboration Grant to establish an internode collaboration with Deputy Director Sally Shrapnel’s group on quantum machine learning. Although only relatively new to the Centre, Kerstin immediately sought out ways to become engaged in all aspects of Centre life. She is a 2023–24 Node Representative and an active member of multiple EQUS committees. She joined the Public Engagement Committee and participated in the 2023 National Quantum & Dark Matter Road Trip; she also assisted with the promotion of this and the 2022 event, by creating videos of the event, contributing to social media and participating in media interviews. Kerstin is also a member of the EQUIP Committee, where, most recently, she has volunteered to help establish a peer-support and networking group for women and gender-diverse EQUS members.
Centre Citizen: Tim Newman
The Centre Citizen award is presented to the EQUS member who best represents the aspirations of the Centre through their passion and commitment to the Centre’s culture.
Tim Newman is a PhD student in the Quantum Integration Laboratory at The University of Sydney, where his research aims to engineer designer sites for erbium in solids for high-performance quantum networking. Tim is a passionate champion for equity, diversity and inclusion, is a member of the EQUS EQUIP Committee and a 2023–24 Node Representative. As part of the EQUP Committee, Tim has been integral in reshaping two major grant schemes designed to support members who are experiencing financial hardship or unreasonable burdens that affect their ability to be successful. Tim is also a Mental Health First Aid Officer and will soon be a Contact Officer. Tim has contributed to various EQUS outreach events, including the quantum art exhibition and the demo day at USYD as part of the National Quantum & Dark Matter Road Trip. He is an outstanding mentor to EQUS students and to new EQUS members at USYD, and has been integral to the logistical set-up of the Quantum Integration Laboratory, led by Chief Investigator John Bartholomew.
Kerstin receiving her Director’s Medal (left) and Tim receiving his Centre Citizen award (right) from EQUS Director Andrew White.
Best Student-Led Publication: Ali Fawaz and Sarath Raman Nair, for their paper, Coupling nitrogen–vacancy centre spins in diamond to a grape dimer
Best ECR-Led Project: Jeremy Bourhill and Emma Paterson, for the development of a twisted anyon cavity to search for ultralight axion dark matter
Best Collaborative Paper: Christina Giarmatzi, Tyler Jones, Alexei Gilchrist, Fabio Costa and Arkady Fedorov, for their paper, Multi-time quantum process tomography of a superconducting qubit
Best Profile-Raising Activity: EQUS Quantum Competition and Exhibition: Emergence
Best Contribution to Public Debate: Vanessa Olaya and Christophe Valahu, for their paper, Direct observation of geometric-phase interference in dynamics around a conical intersection, which received world-wide media attention
Three-minute thesis competition:
Congratulations to our award winners, and to all EQUS members for making 2023 another very successful year for the Centre!
Celebrating Tim’s, Kerstin’s and Christophe’s awards; top row: PhD student Alex Hahn, Associate Investigators Mikolaj Schmidt and Ting Rei Tan, and Chief Investigator Dr John Barthomew; bottom row, PhD students Tim Newman and Zsolt Szabo, Deborah Jin Fellow Kerstin Beer and Research Affiliate Christophe Valahu.