• Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

    Critical Thought

    Critical thoughts on quantum technologies

    New Discoveries in Quantum Computing and Sustainable Insecticides

    ByByron Bekker

    Nov 22, 2023
    New Discoveries in Quantum Computing and Sustainable Insecticides

    Quantum physicist Michelle Simmons has been awarded the top prize at the prime minister’s prizes for science for her groundbreaking work in the field of atomic electronics. With her discoveries, Simmons has laid the foundation for a new approach to quantum computing. This prestigious recognition comes as a testament to her dedication and pioneering contributions to the scientific community.

    Simmons initially became fascinated by the potential impact of building things that had never been created before, especially the implications for computing power. Quantum computers, based on principles of quantum physics, have the potential to perform calculations that would take classical computers thousands of years to complete in a matter of minutes. The field of quantum computing opens up new possibilities and challenges traditional computational limitations.

    The prime minister’s prizes for science are Australia’s most esteemed awards for scientific research, innovation, and science teaching. The recipients, such as Professor Glenn King of the University of Queensland, are selected based on their remarkable achievements in their respective fields. Professor King was awarded the prize for innovation for his groundbreaking use of peptides from the venom of Australian funnel-web spiders. These peptides have demonstrated the potential to protect against cell damage caused by stroke and heart attacks.

    Additionally, King’s company, Vestaron, has successfully developed sustainable insecticides utilizing peptides from the venom of the Blue Mountains funnel-web spider. These insecticides are highly selective, targeting pests that damage crops without harming humans, domestic animals, or bees. The insecticide’s safety is such that crops can be sprayed in the morning and harvested in the afternoon without any delay. This innovation offers a promising solution to the global challenge of sustainable pest control.

    The award recipients also include other distinguished researchers. Professor Chris Greening made a groundbreaking discovery regarding the role of microbes in removing gases from the atmosphere, contributing to our understanding of environmental sustainability. Professor Yuerui (Larry) Lu created the world’s thinnest micro-lens, opening up new opportunities in the field of optics. Associate Professor Lara Herrero developed a pioneering drug that may potentially treat viral arthritis, offering hope to those affected by this condition.

    Michelle Simmons, the founder of Australia’s first quantum computing company, Silicon Quantum Computing, and her team are working tirelessly toward the development of the world’s first error-corrected quantum computer. This achievement is considered the holy grail in the field of quantum computing. Quantum computers, known for their susceptibility to calculation errors, require precise manipulation at the atomic level.

    Simmons’s company has pushed the boundaries by manufacturing devices with atomic precision. They have successfully encoded information on both the electron and the nucleus of individual phosphorus atoms within a silicon substrate. This level of precision was unimaginable just two decades ago and is now bringing us closer to realizing the full potential of error-corrected quantum computers.

    In addition to recognizing scientific achievements, the prime minister’s prizes for science also celebrate excellence in science teaching. Judith Stutchbury and Donna Buckley were acknowledged for their exceptional contributions in educating students about environmental topics and encouraging scientific exploration. Their dedication plays a vital role in fostering the next generation of scientists and ensuring the dissemination of knowledge and passion for science.


    Q: What is quantum computing?
    A: Quantum computing is a field of study that harnesses the principles of quantum physics to develop powerful computational systems capable of solving complex problems exponentially faster than classical computers.

    Q: How do quantum computers differ from classical computers?
    A: Classical computers process information using bits, which represent either a 0 or a 1. Quantum computers, on the other hand, utilize quantum bits or qubits, which can represent both 0 and 1 simultaneously due to the principle of quantum superposition. This allows quantum computers to perform multiple calculations simultaneously, leading to significantly faster processing speeds for certain types of problems.

    Q: What are peptides?
    A: Peptides are short chains of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. They play various roles in biological processes and can be utilized in medicine and other applications.

    Q: What is the significance of error-corrected quantum computers?
    A: Error-corrected quantum computers are a major advancement in quantum computing. They have the ability to mitigate errors that naturally occur during quantum calculations, enhancing the reliability and precision of the computations performed by these systems.

    – [Silicon Quantum Computing](https://www.sqc.com.au/)
    – [Vestaron](https://vestaron.com/)