EQUS researchers shine light on careers in quantum optics

EQUS researchers Thomas Volz and Lachlan Rogers have provided insights into careers in quantum optics and shared tips for prospective physicists in a recent issue of Futurum Careers.

The features include explanations of quantum concepts, summaries of Thomas’ and Lachlan’s research and its applications, and tips and pathways for students interested in careers in quantum science.

Each feature also comes with an activity sheet for students to work through at home or in class.

Thomas’ feature—‘Lighting up the quantum future: from basic quantum science to new technologies’—discusses how quantum optics tools are being used to develop new quantum technologies.

Lachlan’s feature—‘Glowing diamonds are a quantum scientist’s best friend’—focuses on his research on diamond colour centres.

Key takeaways for prospective quantum scientists include the importance of maths and programming, in addition to standard physics subjects, and the need to build ‘frustration tolerance’ to enable students and researchers to fail well and often.

Although maths, physics and programming may be unsurprising prerequisites, failure is not a subject found on many course outlines.

As Thomas explains, “An academic career is full of failures, and with an experimental PhD, one experiences failures almost daily.”

“It takes the right mindset and a strong will to try again and again.”

Despite this, Lyra Cronin, a PhD student in Thomas’ lab, said that little in her life has been as rewarding as conducting research.

“There is an idea that quantum physics is particularly difficult, but it is not inherently more difficult than any other field of science,” she said.

“Anybody can pursue a career in quantum science if they want to.”

According to Lachlan, “It is a fantastic time to consider a career in quantum science, because so many new options are opening up.”

“We are on the cusp of the first-ever generation of quantum engineers.”

The features and activity sheets are published under a CC BY NC licence, which means they are free to share, use and adapt for non-commercial purposes, with appropriate attribution.

Lachlan’s feature was supported in part by EQUS’ Quantum for Educators committee.

Major funding support

Australian Research Council

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS) acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present.