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Youth make quantum leap at week-long workshop

14 June 2016

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More than 30 students learnt about quantum technologies and cryptography at CQT's Generation Q Camp

Students reaching the end of their school years will barely have encountered quantum concepts in the syllabus – but new quantum technologies from research labs and companies around the world could shape their futures. That's why CQT organises Generation Q Camp for students to explore the foundations and frontiers of this research field.

For this year's Q Camp, 33 students registered from 13 local schools for a five-day workshop that offered lectures, activities, demos and lab visits. The participants, who were mainly aged 16-19, were taught by over 20 of CQT's researchers and PhD students. The camp's informal atmosphere encouraged interactions and even some noisy fun.

New in the programme this year, for example, was a demonstration of liquid-nitrogen-cooled 'superconducting quantum interference devices' (or SQUIDS for short). SQUIDS are sensitive magnetometers. They are also a promising technology for building quantum computers, with the device storing a quantum bit of information in the form of a circulating current. The noisy fun came when the liquid nitrogen was later used up for ice-cream making.

Students completed feedback forms at the end of the week that were on the whole positive, but also gave us some ideas to improve the camp for next year.

Samples of course feedback forms.

Thanks to the Q Camp students for the nice feedback! All of the participants who gave feedback rated the camp as good or excellent.

There were a surprising number of comments about the snacks provided for break times. "Considering the bulk of the negative comments (by a vast majority) were 'the bananas were not ripe', that should be proof enough that a 5-day camp about quantum was taught well," jokes Jamie Sikora, who led the organisation of the camp. Jamie is a Research Fellow in computer science at CQT.