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Youth take on quantum cryptography at Generation Q Camp

CQT researchers and graduate students taught a three-day workshop for junior college students

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26 June 2015

Group Photo, Generation Q Camp 2015

Students and instructors at CQT's Generation Q Camp demonstrate a quantum leap

Thirteen students from eight Singapore junior colleges attended Generation Q Camp 17-19 June at the Centre for Quantum Technologies. The intensive three-day workshop introduced quantum physics and cryptography through lectures, exercises and games.

The course was organised by CQT Research Fellow Jamie Sikora, a mathematician in the Centre's computer science group. "I wanted to introduce young students to the exciting worlds of quantum physics, advanced mathematics and cryptography. The goal of the camp is to give a quick glimpse of quantum cryptography, explain why it's secure, and how such devices are being built today," he says.

Generation Q Camp was open to Junior College students (ages approximately 17-19) who were nominated by their schools. It was free to attend.

"The whole camp is simply amazing and enriching," wrote one participant in an anonymous feedback form completed at the end of the workshop. Another said the camp had "made quantum mechanics much more appealing and exciting to me". The activities on cryptography (some of which involved chocolate coins) were described as "really fun".

Even students who came to the camp having already studied the topics found the experience worthwhile. One wrote "much of the contents are things we already know but never really understood/linked to quantum, so when those links were drawn, it was fascinating."

The course instructors (in order of appearance) were Valerio Scarani, Whei Yeap Suen, Max Seah, Brenda Chng, Yicheng Shi, David Roberson, Jamie Sikora, Aarthi Sundaram, Laura Mancinska, Anupam Prakash, Antonios Varvitsiotis, Koon Tong Goh and Alexander Ling.

Participating students received a copy of the book Six Quantum Pieces by CQT Principal Investigator Valerio Scarani, CQT souvenirs and a certificate of completion for the workshop.

CQT also offered lab visits to students attending the NUS Faculty of Science's Physics Enrichment Camp on 10 and 11 June. Principal Investigator Murray Barrett showed his setup for creating ultra-cold quantum matter and cooling and trapping ions.

The Centre runs a range of activities for students and the general public. Find more information and details of upcoming events at quantumlah.org/outreach.