(Technology Review) Jian-Wei Pan is a 48-year old professor at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) who has produced a series of breakthroughs that have propelled him to scientific stardom in the country. He’s often referred to in local media as “the father of quantum”in China and his work has won plaudits from President Xi Jinping. China’s government sees an opportunity to lead the dawning quantum era in quantum communications and computing.
In this recent interview with MIT Technology Review, Pan made it clear that China sees a unique window for it to shape the technology era. “We were only the follower and the learner at the birth of modern information science,” he said. “Now we have a chance … to be a leader.” Pan’s ambitions include a plan to create a globe-spanning constellation of satellites for super-secure quantum internet. Pan also wants to help China catch up with—and perhaps overtake—the US in building powerful quantum computers.
Isaac Chuang, an MIT professor and pioneer of quantum computing, notes that one of the reasons China has done so well in quantum science is the close coordination between its government research groups, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the country’s universities.