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Jointly into the quantum future: ‘A crucial role for education and science communication’

The second quantum revolution is in full swing, bringing all kinds of new technologies to within reach, and offering many opportunities as well as challenges. Leiden and Delft decided to join forces – not only in research, but also in education and connecting to society. Miriam Blaauboer and Julia Cramer explain why this is crucial.

Cramer started her quantum journey in Delft (with Blaauboer as one of her lecturers) and currently works in Leiden. For Blaauboer it is the other way around. Both researchers therefore have a strong connection with the two cities.

When it comes to quantum, many people think about building a quantum computer. But your contribution goes beyond that. Can you tell a bit more?

Blaauboer: ‘I do research and I teach. I very much like teaching, it is pure joy to see someone suddenly grasping a concept being taught. And when the new master programme on quantum was being initiated – a joint programme between Delft and Leiden – they asked me to spearhead it. The programme has since started with an enthusiastic team of lecturers and educational specialists, with expertise beyond the disciplines. The multidisciplinary character of the programme means that I depend on experts in various disciplines, and that we must collaborate closely.’

Miriam Blaauboer and Julia Cramer

Cramer: ‘During my bachelor’s, I had made a YouTube video on quantum for a certain research practicum. But when I wanted to do science communication research into quantum, after having obtained my PhD in experimental quantum physics, they found it too niche a topic. Luckily for me, funding of the Quantum Delta NL growth fund emphasised the significance of quantum, making it possible after all. I am very grateful to the people who supported me in my somewhat wild ideas and that made me feel part of it all. By the way, you have been one of these people, Miriam.’

Blaauboer: ‘I’m so glad to hear that. Everybody needs role models. And in my time, there weren’t many. Being one of the few women in quantum research made me realise that I can make a difference for newcomers. Student numbers of the new master programme are on the rise, and it is important for everyone to feel welcome.’

You can read the whole article on the LDE-site.

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