Waterloo’s scientific scene was well represented in the tiny Middle Eastern nation of Qatar today, as representatives from the Institute for Quantum Computing and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics delivered presentations at the World Conference of Science Journalists.
IQC’s Executive Director Raymond Laflamme kicked things off this morning as part of a panel discussion dubbed Let’s Get Physical (which had nothing to do with a 1981 hit single by Olivia Newton-John, and everything to do with the next big advancements in physics research). His talk, which was accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation projected onto a screen of near-IMAX proportions, provided a glimpse into how quantum information processing will shape the future of technology.
Next up, Julie Wright and Wilson DaSilva of the Waterloo Global Science Initiative — an international symposium hosted by the Perimeter Institute and the University of Waterloo — discussed the planning and execution of the Equinox Summit, which wrapped up just three weeks ago. “No meeting quite like this has been held anywhere in the world before,” DaSilva said of the summit, which brought together leading energy experts to draft real solutions to the mounting global energy crisis.
Lisa Lambert, external relations manager at Perimeter Institute, produced the final session of the day: a fascinating discussion about the transformative power of science — and science journalism — in developing African nations. Given that roughly half of the 726 delegates at the conference came to Qatar from developing countries, the session was timely and powerful.
As for me, I’ve been talking about quantum information research with anyone who will listen, and thankfully there are a lot of open ears. Quantum science seems to be intrinsically intriguing to most people (even if it’s not immediately understandable to everyone), which makes my job easier. Perhaps in Qatar, the only country in the world whose name starts with a Q, there is a special affinity to all things Quantum. I think I spotted a Quizno’s in Doha yesterday, but no Subway — food for thought….