Welcome Physics World  May 2022

New voices in quantum science and technologies

A few years ago, Physics World introduced a training programme aimed at helping PhD students in materials science and biomedical physics develop their science communication skills and give them a platform for their writing. These “student contributor networks” were so successful that in January 2021, we decided to set up a new one, this time with a focus on quantum science and technologies. After a call for applications, a few training sessions and one sprawling, multi-continental Zoom meet-up, a talented group of 12 quantum PhD students got down to business, writing about the latest developments in quantum computing (“Physicists achieve fault-tolerant control of an error-corrected qubit”), optics (“Distillation method strengthens entanglement in a single pair of photons”), sensing (“Trapped ions share a wired connection”), simulation (“Quantum computers take on quarks”) and more.

This Physics World Quantum Science & Technologies Briefing includes a baker’s dozen of these students’ stories, making it a showcase for new quantum researchers as well as the latest quantum research. The articles are as varied as the writers themselves, with fun analogies, well-worded explanations, pithy quotes and even an eye-popping illustration all helping to convey highly technical information. Most are short and sweet, capturing key points of a single research paper in 500 words or less. A few – notably Jacob Marks’ deep dive into the physics of time crystals (“A new phase for time crystal research”) – take the time to explore a topic in more detail. All of them benefit from the students’ own experiences of working in a complex, varied and fast-moving field.

Since the network launched in March 2021, Physics World’s new quantum student contributors have learned that explaining quantum concepts to members of the wider physics community (never mind the public) can be almost as tricky as the research itself. Nevertheless, they’ve persisted, and we hope the skills we’ve helped them develop will serve them well regardless of where their careers take them in the future – whether that’s academia, industry, education or even (gasp) science communication.

In the meantime, please sit back and enjoy what they’ve written: there’s plenty to learn and discover.