Future Science Talks, featuring Yuktee Gupta

PhD student Yuktee Gupta made her comedy debut as part of Future Science Talks at the Sydney Comedy Festival on 18 May.

Easily the best of the night, Yuktee wove jokes about cultural differences and dating into a 10-minute presentation on her PhD topic: controlling noise in optical quantum computers.  The audience was treated to the benefits of quantum computing via an analogy of Mark, the ex-boyfriend who could only play PlayStation or do nothing, and Steve, the new prospect, who could play all sorts of video games and maybe even have a conversation.

A personal favourite was the highly effective, repeated use of a contact card, proudly showing Yuktee as PhD Wannabe and Quantum Computing Exprt.  The rule of three works!

Of the experience, Yukee said:

“I’d been looking for opportunities to challenge my fear of public speaking this year, and having EQUS encourage me to partake in the Future Science Talks was a great, structured foray to the stage.

“David, the head of the program, was great at laying out the steps to get to the stage, literally and figuratively, breaking down what the audience might expect, and how we could shape our talks to be more accessible (spoiler: the shape is a reverse pyramid).  Unexpectedly, my favourite part of the experience was talking to other researchers about their work, and encouraging them; I’ve inadvertently learned about butterfly conservation, methane detection, and that the school of business oddly counts in the Faculty of Science.

“It’s always interesting deciding what parts of my work to show, how accurate I should be, and what analogies to choose.  Among coin tosses and dead/alive cats, quantum physicists have a library of analogies to pick from; I ended up with an analogy of messy relationships for noisy qubits, which the audience definitely enjoyed more than I did.

“I would encourage folks interested to take part if they can!”

Yuktee’s participation in Future Science Talks was sponsored by EQUS’ Public Engagement Committee.  If you’re interested in participating in future, visit https://www.futuresciencetalks.com.au/science-comedy-program.  Sponsorship of outreach activities is available to EQUS members via the Hub (https://hub.equs.org/equs-sponsorship; requires login).

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.