Farewell, Editors Emeriti; Welcome, New Editors


Autumn (or Spring for our readers in the Southern hemisphere) is a time of change, and things are changing as well for Bits of Quantum. Editorial duties on this blog are performed on a volunteer basis by PhD students (in what little remains of their free time), and this means that any editor’s tenure is inherently limited by his or hers PhD track. This is why, with some sadness, we announce the departure of James and Suzanne, who have handed in their editorial powers to finish up their doctoral track. They were great members of the team and we would like to thank them for the time they have spent making this blog an amazing place for quantum computing.

Luckily change also brings renewal and we are very happy to announce that Bits Of Quantum has two new editors: Guan and Anne-Marije. They have been unofficially part of the team for a while now and we figured it was high time to formalize their editor-ship.


GuanMy name is Guanzhong Wang (feel free to call me Guan when you meet me in or out of the lab) and I’m a PhD student in the group of Leo Kouwenhoven. I work on one of the more unusual approaches to building a quantum computer here in QuTech – using what’s called a topological qubit. I hope through our posts I’ll be able to convince you this is a truly challenging yet worthwhile endeavor that embodies both mathematical and engineering beauty. Happy reading!


Anne-MarijeHi! My name is Anne-Marije and I’m a PhD candidate in the Vandersypen lab, where we are able to catch and control single electrons for the purpose of quantum computation. I am absolutely fascinated by quantum mechanics and it is a great adventure to work with bits of quantum daily and stretch up the boundaries of what we know and can do nowadays. Also, I love speed skating, philosophy and hanging out with friends. Enjoy the blog!

And finally we have one more departure to announce. Last month Christian Dickel has acquired the title of Doctor and has subsequently left QuTech in search of a somewhat less rainy environment. As faithful readers will undoubtedly know, Chris was a prolific contributor to Bits of Quantum, writing many of our best-received articles. He was also very active behind the scenes, getting other people to write blog posts and generally caring a lot about the welfare of Bits of Quantum. Because of this we have decided to give Chris the position of Honorary Editor! Be sure to tune in for our next blogpost, which will be Chris’ final contribution to Bits of Quantum. 

To conclude this post, we would like to share with you the answers to some questions we asked James and Suzanne about their time contributing to the blog and pictures of them receiving our gifts. Hope you enjoy reading Bits of Quantum as much as they did editing!



It’s sad you’re leaving as an editor. What are your plans now?

I am finishing my PhD at the beginning of next year, and going to move on to a new position after that. I would like to stay in academia, so I am going to look for a postdoc position. As specialised as groups are in our research field this almost certainly means moving somewhere new. It will thus be quite an adventure: I have no idea yet where I’ll be next year!

What is your favourite blogpost?  

What I love about the blog posts is that there is such a large variety. We made a ‘difficulty level’ indicated by the number of Q’s such that you know what you are signing up for before reading. For example, if you’re down for something in-depth have a look at Jeremy Ribeiro’s “Quantum Teleportation Explained” (3 Q’s), or if you like something more intro-style I love “Hiding Schrodingers cat: a qubit of quantum error correction” (QQ) by Tom O’Brien. An important category are also the posts that give an insight in life at QuTech: they are 1Q difficulty, but nonetheless important fuel for the blog! One I like a lot is Sophie Hermans’ “A day in the life of a master student”.

Are you planning to keep on writing?

Of course! My next blog post is already on the schedule for a couple of weeks from now, so keep posted.

What is your best blog memory?  

What I liked a lot are the meetings with the editorial team: initially to concretise our idea for the blog and set it all up, and later to keep things going. Not to be missed was getting together for writing the Christmas post, and letting our creativity flow.

Do you have some nice ideas that can be incorporated in the QuTech blog?

Many ideas! We never had a video post yet, which would be a interesting variation. It would be cool to have a page with an overview of everyone who contributed to the blog post, to make the researchers behind the science visible. We could have a QuTech podcast, where researchers talk about the content of their work as well as the what it is like to do science. But mostly, the blog should keep doing what it’s doing: get good stories from the full diverse range of researchers and research topics that are part of QuTech.


It’s sad you’re leaving as an editor. What are your plans now?

My first priority is to finish my PhD! Being an editor has been a lot of fun, but does take up some time that can be spent doing research. After my PhD I hope to continue doing research in quantum computing, hopefully in part of the newly forming wedge that forms a bridge between academia and industry.

What is your favourite blogpost?  

My favourite blog post is the one by Hans Mooij. I also work on the field of superconducting qubits, and having a pedagogical post from one of the fathers of superconducting quantum circuits on the history of the field was particularly amazing. In particular the picture of the defence committee containing John Clarke, Seth Lloyd, Tony Leggett and Daniel Esteve was the most striking.

Are you planning to keep on writing?

I think that scientists have an obligation to explain their work to the general public – after all they do fund the majority of the work we do and they have a right to know why what we do is important, whether that be for practical applications or more fundamental reasons.

I have to say I enjoyed writing much more than I thought I would, but that it also takes a considerable amount of time to do well, so I would like to continue after I have graduated and have a little more time on my hands.

What did you like best?  

The best memory I have of the blog team is when we all attended march meeting together. It’s a unique experience, and very invigorating to be surrounded by so many intelligent driven scientists, and it was wonderful to be able to share that experience with the team and talk about what it meant for each of us to be there.


A Quantum Carol


by Helsen, Kroll, Rol and van Dam

The phone was ringing in the lab, Sophie let it ring a few times before looking up from her experiment. She was a bit annoyed until she realized what time it was, almost midnight and she had only just got the experiment running. She picked up the phone, half expecting to hear her advisor when she heard her mother’s voice:

“Sophie, we were worried about you, you didn’t pick up your phone and it has been almost four hours!”.

“Don’t worry Mom, I’ll be right there, I just have to set up a measurement run overnight, otherwise the experiment will be doing nothing over Christmas!”

“But dear, like you said, it’s Christmas, you promised you’d be here! You know how Granny has been looking forward to seeing you.”

“OK, OK I’ll just start what I have now, but I still have to refill the traps. I’ll be there in 10 minutes”, she said as she hung up the phone.

As the nitrogen traps overflowed, a haze covered the floor and she started to feel a bit dizzy…

Continue reading A Quantum Carol

About Us

Welcome to ‘Bits Of Quantum’, the official blog by QuTech! QuTech is an academic research institution that houses many scientists who spend a large part of their time doing mathematics, experiments, and a lot of quantum mechanics. We would like to share bits of our quantum research with you, and give you a taste of what life in a large research institute is like. To that end we, four PhD students from different parts of QuTech, started the blog you are looking at right now. As the editorial team we are very excited about channeling all the stories that can be told by and about QuTech and quantum technologies. Thank you for reading this blog and we hope you enjoy reading the many posts to come!


The editorial team,
Jonas, James, Adriaan and Suzanne

JonasHelsenJonas Helsen – Hey! My name is Jonas and I am one of the theorists at QuTech. I only started my PhD a year ago so I still have lots to learn but I’m really excited about being here! I’m also passionate about teaching people about the magical world of quantum computing which is why I co-started Bits Of Quantum with my lovely co-editors! Happy reading!

JamesKrollJames Kroll – I am James, an experimental physicist hailing from Scotland. I work in the topological quantum computing roadmap of Leo Kouwenhoven, as it requires an exciting mix of condensed matter physics theory, experimental cryogenics, electrical engineering and computer programming – all things that I somehow enjoy. If I’m not in the lab, you will most likely find me cycling somewhere or reading. Or eating. That’s a pretty important part of my life.

Adriaan Rol AdriaanRol – Hi, I am Adriaan, an experimentalist in Leo DiCarlo’s group where we are working on a quantum computer based on superconducting transmon qubits.
I really enjoy trying to find the (abstract) essence of things while at the same time being able to experimentally test if my ideas actually work.
Whenever I’m not in the lab you’ll probably find me on the water or enjoying an overpriced coffee at my favourite coffee place.

Suzanne van DamSuzannevanDam – My name is Suzanne, and I am doing a PhD in the lab of Ronald Hanson, since two years now. One of my favourite things is to see the quantum world in the lab on a daily basis. My hope is that from this blog it will become clear why I am so excited about this!

All correspondence can be sent to blog@qutech.nl.