The invention of quantum mechanics in the early decades of 20th century introduced strangeness and spookiness to the seemingly complete classical world. This first quantum revolution enabled the amazing technological developments of the 20th century, resulting e.g. in modern electronics and immense societal impact. Today the world is witnessing the early days of the second quantum revolution, where the convergent elements of quantum mechanics like quantum superposition or quantum entanglement will lead to widespread practical applications in quantum computing, quantum cryptography or quantum sensing. One of the major obstacles in achieving this goal is lack of specialized workforce. The required qualifications comprise deep understanding of quantum mechanics, but also include practical knowledge of the convergent fields of microwave electronics, cryogenic and ultra-high vacuum technologies, quantum materials, advanced computer programming and algorithm optimization, with elements of device and system engineering. Existing educational programs usually specialize in only one or two of the above areas. This project helps fill the void in educating the future cadre for quantum revolution by putting together a transdisciplinary group of practitioners experienced in various aspects of quantum science with a group of select graduate students from across the US in the form of an annually recurring Summer School. The cultural and intellectual challenge comes from a need to equip students with practical knowledge of multiple fields relevant to quantum revolution, but also from the desire to foster their ability to learn and maintain the curiosity needed for future progress. The interactions of students with leaders in the field are based on a mixture of direct presentations, tutorials and talks, with interactive activities including round table discussions, student presentations, and courses in practical use of quantum technology. Interactions between speakers from various disciplines, from condensed matter physics through quantum chemistry and engineering, are expected to generate new ideas at the boundaries of fields.

Technical Abstract

As the first quantum revolution of the 1920s led to the modern digital and telecommunications age of the present day, the current position of quantum science suggests that a second quantum revolution is at hand which is expected to have wide reaching implications not only for our fundamental understanding of the natural world but also for computing, energy, and global connectivity. A critical component of this development is the education of the next generation of scientists in the principles, methods, and goals of this "Quantum Leap". This is motivated by the observation that the rapidly growing quantum industry is facing an acute shortage of uniquely qualified workforce. New approaches to education in quantum science are particularly important given the breadth of disciplines brought together in this area- reaching across mathematics, chemistry, physics, materials science, and engineering. As part of initiating this educational effort, this project puts forth a summer school for graduate students as a direct tool to provide an in-depth immersion in the emerging field of convergent quantum science and technology. The approach of this gathering is a summer school wherein students are exposed to education in science and technology beyond what they could be exposed to in traditional classroom settings or typical conferences/workshops. Lecturers focus on pedagogical lectures on these topics rather than seminar style research presentations. Afternoon sessions are aimed at interactive activities involving students and presenters. Themed panels with speakers and organizers serving as panel members for both scientific and career related sessions are planned. The lecturers are encouraged to participate in several days rather than one or two days, to include the additional benefit of cross-disciplinary "pollination" of ideas between lecturers from different disciplines. The program combines aspects of classroom style education, research seminars, multitude of interactive forms and an active discussion forum. The two week duration for the school encourages both formal and informal discussion between students and lecturers as well as among the students themselves.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Materials Research (DMR)
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Tomasz Durakiewicz
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
United States
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