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Optica Members Around the World Driving Quantum Science

Leah Poffenberger, Corporate Communications Manager, Optica

Quantum scientists around the world launched an initiative in 2022 to make 14 April, 2023, the first World Quantum Day, to promote public understanding of quantum science and technology. Optics and photonics play a role in the continued development of a quantum world, and many of Optica’s members are at the forefront of quantum science. In honor of our quantum scientists on World Quantum Day, we invite you to meet some of these members below.

Each of these quantum scientists contributed quotes about their experiences as members of the Optica community to the Faces of Optica project. Many more of our members and their stories can be found in the Faces of Optica Gallery.

Anjul Loiacono, ColdQuanta, USA

Anjul Loiacono is the Vice President for Quantum Signal Processing Platforms at ColdQuanta, a company harnessing the power of cold atoms to develop quantum technology. Cold atom method relies heavily on optics, as lasers are responsible for arranging the atoms, running computations and producing a result. Loiacono is also an active member of Optica’s industrial community, serving on the Corporate Engagement Council and the Optoelectronics Industry Development Association (ODIA) council.

See what she has to say about the Optica community: “This community is a home away from home. Always, I have felt welcome, included, and valued. The Society has been the community that I could consistently rely on to have the right programs and events throughout my academic and professional career. They listen to their members and advocate for the Optics and Photonics community.

Sir Peter Knight, Imperial College London, UK

Sir Peter Knight is a world-renowned physicist, known for his pioneering work in theoretical quantum optics and his leadership in science policy. He is a professor emeritus of quantum optics and a senior research investigator at the Imperial College, London, and Senior Fellow in Residence at the Kavli Royal Society International Centre at Chicheley Hall. Knight began studying quantum optics in the 1970s and has made many contributions to our understanding of the field including describing the nonclassical properties of light. In 2004, Knight served as the first non-North American president of Optica, and in 2005 he was knighted for his contributions to optical physics.

His thoughts on Optica: “Optics is transforming the world, generating new insights, and making discoveries that are changing the way we live (fibre optics enabling the internet, lasers transforming manufacturing, and so much more). With its international links and ability to bridge the worlds of research and industry, the Society is my scientific natural home, and its inclusiveness has brought lasting friendship. This community has been my source of trusted peer-reviewed information for much of my working life. Our conferences have highlighted exciting new areas of science and brought us inspirational speakers, and our journals have pioneered online open access, democratizing science for all. It’s the go-to place for all of us in optics.”

Araceli Venegas-Gomez, QURECA Ltd., UK

Araceli Venegas-Gomez is the Founder and CEO of QURECA Ltd, a company helping to bridge the gap between academic quantum research and businesses. Originally an aerospace engineer, Venegas-Gomez fell in love with quantum mechanics, prompting her to pursue a PhD in quantum simulation. She has become an advocate for quantum technology and was awarded the Milton and Rosalind Chang Pivoting Fellowship from Optica in 2019 to support her work as a quantum ambassador. Her company offers a number of professional services to prepare individuals in the workforce and businesses to work with quantum technologies.

On how being part of Optica has advancer her career: “Being part of this community has been decisive in how my career has progressed in recent years and given me the opportunity to meet great people from all over the world sharing a common passion. The Society has always been there, supporting in various ways, from grants to networking. Winning the Milton and Rosalind Chang Pivoting Fellowship in 2019 allowed me to materialize my ideas and change my career in an unprecedented way. Now I have my own company to support individuals and businesses to be part of the quantum revolution.”

Koichi Shimoda, University of Tokyo, Japan

Koichi Shimoda, an Optica fellow and professor at the University of Tokyo, is an pioneer of optics: he contributed to building the basis of the maser and laser, together with Charles Townes and other researchers. He has also studied and developed research in laser spectroscopy, and for 16 years served as the chairman of the Physics Education Society of Japan, producing materials to train the next generation of physicists. In 1979, he received Optica’s C.E.K. Mees Medal “In recognition of his contribution to quantum optics and double resonance spectroscopy and for his generous contributions to international cooperation in physics through conference organization and publication guidance.”

On the C.E.K. Mees medal and Optica: “The citation on the C.E.K. Mees medal, “Optics transcends all boundaries—interdisciplinary and international alike,” has been my favorite motto for investigation and education of optical physics—in particular of quantum coherence in lasers and laser spectroscopy. Quite a few members have been my intimate collaborators and friends in optics, whom I miss so much.”

Mike Raymer, University of Oregon, USA

Mike Raymer is the Knight Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Oregon. His research focus is on quantum mechanics of light with applications in nonlinear optics, quantum communications technology and quantum information science. Among his achievements is the first instance of experimental quantum-state tomography of light. Raymer is also the author of Quantum Physics: What Everyone Needs to Know, which he wrote to explain quantum physics and its applications to nonscientists. He is a Fellow of Optica, a member of the Board of Directors, and currently serving on the program committee for Optica’s Quantum 2.0 Conference and Exhibition.

His thoughts on quantum science and optics: “I am a quantum physicist, and I love optics. My interest in light and optics started in high school when I discovered some of the writings of Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr. I couldn’t see then how light can act as both particles and as waves. I still can’t! But now I know how to harness the quantum behavior of light to carry out useful tasks, such as building lasers, improving telescopes, and even building quantum computers. Advancing science is a group activity, and one of my greatest pleasures is interacting with the community in research, service, and social events.”

World Quantum Day with Optica

Find more quantum content in honor of World Quantum Day in Optica Publishing Group’s collection of top-downloaded papers in quantum optics, which is free to read for 30 days. Optics and Photonics News is also sharing feature articles on topics in quantum optics—follow @OPNmagazine on Twitter to read them all!

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