“SheQuantum’s exclusive” Interview with Professor Shannon Whitlock, Experimental Quantum Physics, University of Strasbourg, France

Prof. Shannon

Question from Nithyasri @SheQuantum: What is the purpose of Exotic Quantum Matter group?

Answer from Prof. Shannon, University of Strasbourg: Our group builds precisely controlled quantum systems made of ultra cold atoms held in optical traps. We are primarily interested in new phenomena that emerge when these atoms are excited to strongly interacting states using lasers.

These are amazingly versatile systems, which can be used to learn how quantum effects manifest in many different settings, including dynamical processes occurring in complex molecules, the physics of strongly-correlated electronic systems, magnetic phase transitions and more.

Question from Nithyasri @SheQuantum: What sparked your interest in becoming a professor and in teaching quantum computing?

Answer from Prof. Shannon, University of Strasbourg: I enjoy solving hard problems and the freedom to follow unconventional paths. This ranges from developing new technologies for controlling quantum systems, to uncovering new physical effects that have never been observed before, and even developing innovative training programmes for the next generation of quantum experts.

“I enjoy solving hard problems and the freedom to follow unconventional paths.”

Question from Nithyasri @SheQuantum: What is your one advice to women looking to start their Quantum journey?

Answer from Prof. Shannon, University of Strasbourg: Find out what you are most passionate about and follow that. Push outside your comfort zone and look for exciting opportunities outside of your home country.

“Find out what you are most passionate about and follow that.”

Question from Nithyasri @SheQuantum: What’s your opinion on women choosing quantum computing and then to choose academia or industry?

Answer from Prof. Shannon, University of Strasbourg: Diversity is crucial in research and we need good role models. That could be you!

Question from Nithyasri @SheQuantum: Are there any specific plans / focus in your roles in quantum research and education on developing the ability of women and to let them quantum computing as their choice?

Answer from Prof. Shannon, University of Strasbourg: We aim for a balanced representation of women at all levels, including in our mentorship programmes. One of the biggest challenges we face is reaching out to, and attracting talented female candidates. Which is why platforms like SheQuantum are so important.

“SheQuantum is a great, inspiring initiative! Thank you for helping connect women in quantum computing and for building such a vibrant community!”

If you are a student looking for a research career in quantum science or nanomaterials, you should consider studying in France as part of the QMat graduate programme. Applications for international students including scholarships for Master students open in January/February each year. See qmat.unistra.fr for more details. And, SheQuantum is a great, inspiring initiative! Thank you for helping connect women in quantum computing and for building such a vibrant community!

About Prof. Shannon: Prof. Shannon Whitlock is a professor at University of Strasbourg, France in experimental quantum physics and is the Director of the Exotic Quantum Matter group (EQM) researching on quantum simulation and quantum computing, Rydberg atoms, non-equilibrium physics, complex systems and quantum technology. Shannon studied physics and completed his PhD in Melbourne, Australia followed by research and teaching positions at leading universities at the Netherlands, Germany and France. He is involved in several major research-oriented training programmes including the International Graduate School and Interdisciplinary Thematic Institute in “Quantum Science and Nanomaterials” (QMat) and the trinational doctoral programme, in “Quantum Science and Technologies at the European Campus” (QUSTEC).

About Nithyasri Srivathsan:  Nithyasri is the founder of SheQuantum, an aspiring quantum computing scientist and author of “Quantum Computing An [Unconventional Beginners’] Book” featured in BookAuthority as one of the 6 Best Quantum Computing eBooks for Beginners, 2020 with a star rating 4.14/5. Nithyasri have strong beliefs pertaining to science and technology and a firm advocate of the interdisciplinary nature of sciences. She is very keen on promoting quantum computing among women and inspire young girls to take up research in this field, globally.

*qmat.unistra.fr
The Interdisciplinary Thematic Institute QMat, as part of the ITI 2021-2028 program of the University of Strasbourg, CNRS and Inserm, was supported by IdEx Unistra (ANR-10-IDEX-0002) and EUR (QMat-ANR-18-EUR-0016) under the framework of the French Investments for the Future Program

**www.eucor-uni.org/qustec
The QUSTEC programme has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement number 847471

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