Nobel Winning French Physicist Visits India and Discusses Need for Basic Science in Quantum Systems
(TimesOfIndia) India and France agreed in August to cooperate in the fields of quantum computing. This an extensive interview between Serge Haroche, a French physicist who won the Nobel Prize in 2012 for his work on manipulating individual quantum systems, with columnist Shimona Kanwar during Haroche’s a recent visit to India.
Haroche said, “I think laboratory scale classical computing is a matter of technology and one can see in what direction it is going. Quantum computing is still a question of basic science. So, you cannot predict if and when it will lead to practical applications. There is big progress in quantum computing, quantum communication and quantum meteorology using quantum devices. There are laboratories working on these in India and France.”
Kanwar continued, “There are lot of challenges to scale up to a size which is useful. There is lot of hype in the field of quantum devices. Many private companies which are involved in this want to make profit. Quantum computing is trapped between hype and hope. A hope that one day it will lead to something useful. But as always in science you get surprises and what will be useful is may be not what we expect now.”
The big problem we have as scientists is to make sure that people will give us money and keep patience, and not ask for short term results. You need to build an atmosphere of trust and give time to basic science to develop. I think one of the problems is that there are not many positions in basic science. If you do not nourish basic science, you will not have good applied science.
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