My Full-Circle Journey with a Nobel Prize Winner 

It was written with a typewriter — a fancy (for then) IBM Selectric, but a typewriter, nonetheless.  

It was very early in my career; the internet was yet to be born. Most writers were not yet using word processors, the old-school name for what became the ubiquitous personal computer.  

I was a science writer at the University of California, Irvine, having moved from covering the city of Irvine as a daily newspaper reporter to covering the UCI scientists as a university PIO. Quite a change. 

I was reminded of those days when I recently unpacked a dusty box as part of my quest to declutter my life. I’m not a hoarder, per se, but I do love hanging onto sentimental items. This blog is about one of those items: my entry in the local public relations awards competition. The topic? My press release on an experiment by Frederick Reines, Ph.D., co-detector of the elusive neutrino and future Nobel Prize winner for that work. 

People talk about things coming “full circle,” meaning that we often return to what we did in earlier days. Well, I’ve come full circle in the world of quantum physics – but I had forgotten what life was like for me way back when I was a PIO.  

In the decades between then and now, our PR agency, HKA, was born and we were crazily eclectic, serving clients in industries from A to Z. We represented a new country (Republic of the Marshall Islands), did PR for a mortuary group throughout Southern California, worked for banks, restaurants, developers, nonprofits, attorneys, you name it. Technology was a key category, too. But physics, much less quantum physics, was nowhere in sight — yet it was lurking around the corner. 

Of course, those who know me and HKA are aware we pivoted in 2019 and now focus on quantum technology clients (with a few other deep-tech companies completing our roster). Our niche in quantum appears to have happened out of the blue, but looking back on my career, it makes perfect sense. 

Today, our HKA team brilliantly communicates quantum physics as our clients are evolving from research labs toward commercialization. No one knows exactly what will happen, or when it will happen, but there’s no denying that quantum computers are on the cusp of becoming The Next Big Thing (and quite possibly the most transformational tech ever known – and that’s coming from many of the physicists themselves). 

Because we work in a vintage house-turned-office, over the years we somehow attracted several rescue cats who provided cat therapy at stressful times. These cats are gone these days – but felines haven’t left us completely. We have discussions about Schrödinger’s cat and one of our clients works with “cat qubits.” Fortunately, neither require feeding or trips to the vet. 

Back to full circle… The sentimental item I discovered is proof that in those early years, quantum physics was part of my life. My contest entry began, “This news release, which described a rather exotic physics experiment designed to find out whether or not matter is stable, provided an excellent opportunity for national and international coverage for UCI.” 

Yes, some things have changed. My portable laptop has replaced the clunky, one-feature typewriter. No longer at UCI, my HKA hybrid team includes the best of the best, wherever they live. My niche client roster is filled with companies from Europe to Australia to Canada, plus here at home in the U.S.  

But some things have not changed. I’m still writing about and pitching exotic physics experiments and helping to secure top-tier national and international coverage for our clients. 

Things change, but they kind of stay the same, don’t they? 

Qubits and quantum journalists – both growing in 2023

When we began our journey into quantum tech public relations back in 2019 few journalists were interested in the stories we were telling.

 “Too technical,” said some reporters.

“Too confusing,” we heard from others.

“Who cares?” said some editors. “Why should we care?”

Well, it’s mid-2023 and a lot has changed.

Yes, it’s still technical, but more reporters are being assigned the quantum tech beat and they are diligently, and even enthusiastically, learning how to write about it.

Yes, it’s still confusing. Whether it’s writing about superposition or entanglement, it’s not something encountered in our everyday world. Yet reporters are intrigued by these esoteric concepts.

So, the big question: Who cares?

Increasingly, readers, viewers and listeners do. My Google Alerts are jammed packed every day with quantum stories from all over the globe. And not only from quantum trades and sci-tech publications, but mainstream ones as well.  Witness the February TIME magazine cover on quantum computing. Or the recent FOX Business News story describing a quantum technology breakthrough.

Yes, qubits are rampant these days, as articles chart milestones and explore just when, and how, quantum tech will truly make a difference in our lives. Many see quantum development as the 21st century version of last century’s space race.

At HKA, we had the foresight – and a bit of chutzpah – to zero in on quantum relatively early. Our quantum tech network is expansive, and it is growing every day throughout the world, from North America, across Europe and Latin America and into Africa and Asia. Most are LinkedIn relationships that blossomed, born during Covid restrictions and bolstered by Zoom calls. We have finally connected with a few in person at conferences, and it’s just like meeting old friends.

More than friendships, we have developed resources valuable to journalists as they strive to understand this industry and explain it in comprehensible terms to their readers. And this, in turn, is valuable to our clients. Journalists have discovered that our roster of quantum clients spans hardware and software, and that we know consultants who provide everything from quantum recruiting to business intelligence. We can provide scientists and business leaders to supply quotes for stories or simply share background for future articles.

Some journalists have confessed it is daunting to cover quantum and that’s why they have held back. They are afraid to ask “dumb questions” when interviewing scientists. But the well-known response is even more true in quantum – there truly are no dumb questions. We aren’t physicists, after all, we are professional communicators striving to understand their realm and bring others into it.

We continue building our relationships and encouraging journalists to be bold – to dive in and tell the many fascinating stories in the quantum tech world.

A Full Nobel Circle

Quite a few years ago, before HKA was born, I was a public information officer/science writer at the University of California, Irvine. I was a young writer, fresh from the grind of daily newspapers, and I welcomed the opportunity to explore new territories in depth. I loved that in comparison to writing up to a half dozen news stories in a day, I could “deep dive” into advanced subjects I knew nothing about so I could understand it well enough to communicate the topic to a lay audience.

I was remembering those years fondly this week when I opened UCI’s alumni magazine and saw the article “A Nobel Day” — a remembrance of when two UCI scientists were announced as Nobel Prize winners in 1995. They won in physics and chemistry. It was the first time a public university had received Nobel prizes in two different fields in one year.

Both scientists were part of my “beat” at UCI. I covered physical sciences, biological sciences, engineering and computer science. When I started, I knew little about physics or chemistry but was fortunate to be able to interview, read research papers and then write press releases on the research of both these Nobel Prize winners: Professor Frederick Reines, physics, and Professor F. Sherwood (Sherry) Rowland, chemistry. Both were fascinating individuals and were patient with my limited background in physical sciences. Best yet, they both had such blockbuster research findings that it made my job easy.

Dr. Reines was honored for discovering the neutrino, one of nature’s smallest building blocks that was so difficult to see, many thought it didn’t exist. But it did!

Dr. Rowland, with his postdoc, was the scientist who discovered that fluorocarbons were destroying the Earth’s ozone layer. It was controversial research that at first was challenged by many chemists, but it was proven correct and the fact that aerosol spray cans are almost extinct these days and refrigerants have been radically changed can be attributed to his groundbreaking research.

I wrote their press releases before they became Nobel Prize winners, but we all knew they were destined for international glory. It was only a matter of time.

That training was terrific background for my current position, leading HKA, a PR agency truly entangled in deep tech, especially quantum technology. And recent events have proven that my days of interacting with a Nobel Prize winner are not over just yet. Our agency found itself working with one of this year’s Nobel Prize winners in physics, Dr. Alain Aspect, a co-founder of the quantum tech company Pasqal, one of our clients.  Dr. Aspect’s work is described here.

Yes, I feel honored once again.

Are Quantum Tech Companies Immune from a Recession?

Some Savvy Quantum Experts Weigh In


The declining economy, both in the U.S. and overseas, has raised questions for those focused on the world of quantum technology.

Is quantum tech immune to the broader economic decline? Or at least more resilient? Can quantum tech companies withstand a recession? A continued slide in the equity markets? Investor impatience? Continued supply chain woes?

If the sector is, indeed, immune, what factors are driving this? Are they sustainable? And if the sector is no different from other once-thriving tech companies suddenly facing a downturn, what should we expect from quantum startups in the months ahead?

All good questions! We turned to some savvy quantum tech experts to find some answers.

None of our questions elicited black-and-white answers, shades of gray were the common thread, but overall, the responses were encouraging.

“Given the relatively early stage of quantum hardware, few investors of quantum computing are anticipating an immediate return on their investment. I expect forward-looking organizations with reasonably durable budgets for exploratory technology to stay the course with projects already in flight, though there may be a more ‘wait and see’ stance throughout the rest of the year,” commented James Sanders, Research Analyst, Cloud & Managed Services Transformation, at 451 Research (S&P Global Market Intelligence).

Not a Death Blow

Doug Finke, managing editor of Quantum Computing Report, suggested a mixed optic: “The quantum tech sector will be impacted somewhat, but I wouldn’t characterize it as a ‘death blow.’ There are signs that VC investors are becoming cautious and may not be as ready as before to make investments in quantum computing.” Finke and several other experts noted that some quantum companies that were wishing to go public via a SPAC have delayed their plans.

Brian Lenahan, founder/chair of Quantum Strategy Institute and CEO of Aquitaine Innovation Advisors, drew a line between prepared and unprepared companies. “A current abundance of funding in the sector may delay a recessionary impact in the quantum sector. However, companies without built-in resilience from experienced advisors, proximity to clients, near-term cash flows and a long-term view will be challenged to survive a prolonged downturn (ala 2008-2009), notwithstanding the current glow of quantum investment.”

André König, CEO of Interference Advisors, had optimistic words, diluted with caution. “We are entering a historic downturn. And while quantum tech won’t be spared, I am confident that it will remain relatively sheltered. I do not see a significant correction impending due to the current macro climate. The driving factor in quantum tech is the tension between maturity curve and market forces, more so than micro- or macro-economic trends,” König said.

A Different Yardstick

“While every sector and venture must adhere to good business hygiene, quantum tech is isolated from the environment by its very own, spooky nature. Quantum tech is still a very young industry. There is as much science as engineering that needs to be done for users to derive any real value out of this paradigm-shifting technology. And while market forces – driven by investors and stakeholders in quantum tech – drive hype and expectations, reality is that we are too early to be measured by that yardstick,” König added.

He cautioned further, “The combination of these factors should not make anyone feel safe, in the slightest. Cash will get expensive, resources scarce, capital will slow, and projects will be scrutinized more intensely. Execution, in this context, is key. . . I see the next two years as the opportunity to truly prove the potential of the technology and position for true scaling.”

Lenahan has a similar impression, “Quantum immunity should last in the short term, yet the technology represents a small portion of today’s IT budget with substantial, scaled commercialization years away – suggesting challenging times ahead.”

Russ Fein, Managing Director of Corporate Fuel Partners, has real concerns about the quantum sector, but not because of the general economy. “I’ve recently been worrying that the quantum financing party may be ending soon (or at lease sputtering a bit), but that has nothing to do with the broader downturn.  Hardware players have raised huge sums in aggregate and will begin to need to go back to the markets soon for B-rounds.  Without very clear achievement of milestones, it will be difficult to raise more capital and I expect there to be an increasing number of down-rounds, which will add drag to the overall QC investment environment.  This is now exacerbated by the broader market decline.”

An upbeat view comes from Nardo Manaloto, Managing Partner, Qubit Ventures, who commented, “Since the quantum tech sector is still in its nascent stages, the impact is minimal for those startups in early stages. There is built-in resilience due to the amount of time it will take to realize, apply and adopt this technology. The impact is primarily on the larger VC firms investing in ​the quantum computing companies that have gone public and have pressure to show traction and require larger investment amounts.”

Watching Layoff Trends

Connor Teague, president of Quantum Futures, closely watches quantum employment trends in his position as a quantum-specific recruiter. “I can only see it slowing down if people are being laid off and the reason people will be laid off will be because of investments slowing down. If companies continue to hit their targets, then I don’t see a problem.  However, companies are over-promising on their roadmap to secure funding. It’s incredibly difficult to reach these milestones, which strains how the rest of the world views quantum computing businesses. They think ‘it’s not working,’” Teague said.

Teague adds that quantum-specific VCs do understand it’s a long-term investment and so they may give their portfolio “extra backing to weather this storm.”

Christopher Bishop, Chief Reinvention Officer at Improvising Careers, offers further confidence. “With my economic historian hat on, we need to keep in mind that all technologies were once ‘new’ – quantum is no different. Interest always waxes and wanes. This has been true for breakthroughs from the Victorian internet (telegraph) to the personal computer.

“But the potential impact of quantum information science is so broad-based and wide-ranging – from both the benefits it can deliver as well as the risks to areas like data security – that interest will not wane any time soon. The application of quantum information science will change how we live and work – even though it may be 5, 10, 20 years out. And as a result, it will generate continued focus and investment,” Bishop noted.

Taking the conversation further, the experts offered reasons why, or why not, the quantum tech sector differs from broader tech.

Fein points to a longer economic cycle in quantum and more patience from players in the industry. He surmises, “Given the power and potential of quantum computers, there is a bit of a protective aura around the space vis-à-vis broader market cycles.”

Sanders points out that in comparison with other enterprise technology and mass-market consumer electronics, supply chain issues have less impact on quantum tech companies. “There is no mass manufacturing in quantum computing or networking. Devices in use now are generally assembled by PhDs, and the consumption of components (industrial control, laser assembly, etc.) are not in particularly high volume.”

Also attributing to the quantum tech differential is the level of attention given to these companies. Finke commented, “The other difference is that quantum tech has more hype.”

Global Government Funding

Several experts quickly pointed to the almost ubiquitous global government funding flowing to quantum startups.

Finke said, “Quantum tech has received substantial government funding, and this funding will continue or even increase. There are certain concerns about national security as well as national economic health that will motivate governments worldwide to maintain this funding. In particular, the European countries and China are funding quantum tech at an even higher rate than the U.S. because they don’t want to see the U.S. dominate quantum tech in the same way it did with classical computing tech.”

König concurred, “Let’s not forget that quantum tech is a national priority of the highest order for the major markets in North America, Europe, parts of Asia, Israel and other regions.

So, what do the experts see in their crystal balls if the quantum tech sector softens along with the rest of the technology realm?

Pockets of Pain

Fein, while not attributing the slowdown to the broader economic decline, still anticipates “pockets of pain as individual companies miss milestones and/or run out of funds.”

Sanders has thoughts about the impact of the currently small quantum talent pool on the less common hardware approaches. “The truism of ‘if you want to go far, go together” may apply to quantum, particularly for the multiple early approaches around superconducting and ion qubits, versus more boutique approaches such as electron-on-helium, where only one startup with extremely specialized knowledge is pursuing a modality.”

Lenahan offered additional thoughts: “Taking reference from the various eras of artificial intelligence waves, quantum tech companies not producing commercial results should expect a decline in theoretical quantum activities. However, an emphasis on in-market use cases should generate continued interest from investors and consumers. Sector wide, we should anticipate reduced conference overlap (participants being more selective) and a slow shift from talent undersupply to a more balanced talent gap.”

Full-Stack Winners

The experts anticipate more mergers and consolidation within the industry, particularly if there is a softening of the sector. König commented, “The quantum tech market is poised for consolidation, full stack providers will emerge as winners and capital will flow to those projects promising the best approach to this yet unsolved puzzle.”

A few other predictions emerged from the expert panel.

Fein said, “I believe the general philosophy will remain ‘full steam ahead.’ That said, companies will begin to worry that their next round may be more difficult to close, and so may do things to extend their runways.  Companies like PsiQuantum, which raised enough to weather many years, will keep their foot on the gas.  Those with less than 12-18 months of runway may begin to be more guarded in their spend.  I doubt we’ll see wholesale layoffs, but we may see a slight slowdown in hiring and investment so that runways can be extended.”

Gradual Changes

Finke suggested, “I think changes will be seen gradually. In fact, some may have already started as seen in the stock prices of IonQ and Rigetti, and perhaps some of the mergers within the past few months. There will likely be a shake-out in the industry.” This follows the pattern of many industries including “railroads in the 1840s, automobiles in the early 20th century, radio in the 1920s, television in the 1940s, transistor electronics in the 1950s, computer time-sharing in the 1960s, and home computers and biotechnology in the 1980s (from Wikipedia).”

“However, a few stronger players will survive and even thrive. Netflix was founded in 1997 and Google in 1998, a few years before the internet tech bubble started bursting in 2000. So, in the end, winnowing the quantum tech companies may prove beneficial to the industry in the long term because weaker companies will go away and stronger companies will become even stronger as major players,” Finke added.

König summarized, “I am a huge proponent of commercialization and solution selling, and that is my goal for quantum tech, but the point we are at in the current development is still very much dominated by scientific development and even research. Thus, while there undoubtedly will be financial pressure on any vendor and startup, I do not expect to see a fall out due to the current externalities.”

(Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in the Quantum Computing Report)

Getting to the Heart of Quantum

Before our PR agency threw itself headfirst into the world of quantum tech, we were an eclectic outfit. One favorite sector was nonprofit, with many HKA clients doing charitable work.  As part of that world, I became accustomed to hearing, and communicating, “warm and fuzzy, feel-good stories.”

Some involved disadvantaged people getting a helping hand.

Other tales told of abandoned animals getting a second chance.

Often, we helped disease-related associations raise funds for research and patient care.

Yep, those heartwarming stories were commonplace in the HKA world for many years.

So, when we began our almost-total focus on quantum back in 2019, I thought I had left those sorts of stories behind. We had left the soft and squishy nonprofit world, replaced by cutting-edge quantum tech stories that could eventually change the world.  We were dealing only in facts, not feelings.

I was wrong.

A couple days ago, I witnessed a heartwarming story involving the global quantum ecosystem, which has become part of my daily virtual work life. While not an everyday occurrence, this story demonstrates the beating heart in the quantum world.

Denise Ruffner is known to many, not only for her work at several distinguished quantum companies, but as founder and president of Women in Quantum (WIQ). Her WIQ work is pro bono, somehow fit in between her work as Chief Business officer of Atom Computing. Her WIQ work is a great fit for her regular job, as her “quantum friends” universe is vast and continually growing – not only women in quantum, but scores of men who actively support bringing more women into the industry.

In the old days, we’d remark on Denise’s amazing Rolodex (Gen Z and Millennials may need to Google this archaic term). Today, Denise is considered an influencer. Few people in quantum circles do not know, or at least know of, Denise, and apparently, when Denise sounds the alarm, people come running.

Sunday night, Denise reached out to 34 people via email. All are involved in some aspect of quantum – founders/CEOs, research physicists in the lab, business development folks. Here’s the story:

Denise was approached to try to help raise $5,000 to fund a summer scholarship for a third-year female student at Louisiana State University. The student has been actively engaged in quantum tech as an undergrad, describing herself: “ I have a keen passion for quantum computation and information. Specifically, I’m interested in understanding and designing hardware-aware algorithms that will be optimized for applications in the near term.”

The $5,000 would enable her to travel to University of Oxford this summer to collaborate fulltime with a doctoral student who has been mentoring her. The funds would cover travel and living expenses while doing this work in the lab.

Well, Denise asked for $5,000 altogether – suggesting that several individuals, or their companies, donate $1,000 each. Supporting this student would not only help bring women into the industry –a goal of Women in Quantum – but also add diversity, as the student is African American.

So, what happened? I watched as person after person emailed back “yes, we will donate $1,000!” In all, the offers exceeded Denise’s ask. All the donors are to be commended for their generosity!

Who said there are no warm and fuzzy stories in quantum?

The Quantum State of Things

There is no shortage of quantum-focused conferences these days, although many are called a summit, a term that somehow sounds more inviting than a conference. Whatever it is called, an increasingly number of people are opining about the current state of quantum technology as well as what lies ahead.

Some talks are packed with unfortunate rah-rah hype. Others contain so many technical details that only a quantum physicist could understand. But some speakers hit just the right note for me – blending realism and understandable expertise.

One such speaker is Doug Finke, who spoke at the Chicago Quantum Summit in early November. While Doug spoke in person in Chicago, I watched virtually in Southern California, actually very near Doug’s home base. In full transparency, Doug is the person who got HKA hooked on exploring the potential of PR in the quantum technology world.

Doug is the founder and editor of the online Quantum Computing Report and is one of the first, if not the first, to create a non-academic publication focused on quantum. That was in 2015, and he later added a weekly newsletter. Calling himself a “refugee from the classical computing world,” (read IBM, Intel, Western Digital, among others), Doug saw the quantum writing on the wall. He observed that the emerging quantum field lacked analysis and packed his bags to move from classical to quantum computing – and hasn’t looked back. In fact, he was the first reviewer of the IBM Quantum Experience in 2016.

Speaking to the Chicago audience, Doug presented an enthusiastic yet realistic image of the current state of quantum tech, and a significantly rosier picture of the future. He cited Amara’s Law, which states that people tend to overestimate the effect of technology in the short run but underestimate it in the long run.

He noted that right now, he can count at least 225 startups in the field of quantum technology. But he quickly added that in 10 years, most won’t exist in their present state. They will either be bought, merged or go out of business. A great consolidation will take place, similar to what happened in the 1960s and 1970s with the semiconductor industry, as well as with personal computers in the 1980s and 1990s. And just like the tech crowd debated which semiconductor technology would win out, so, too, are people today taking bets on which quantum tech will remain standing. Doug doubts it will be just one.

Competition is fierce and coming from many directions. It’s fiercely competitive among the hardware and software quantum startups. And competition is seen at the international level, with countries vying to outspend each other to get ahead. Doug told the U.S. audience that Europe and China are both significantly outspending the U.S. He added that even advances in classical computers at this stage represent competition – “classical computers keep getting better and better.”

Interestingly, Doug pointed to the coming of quantum-resistant cryptography as a parallel to the frenzy that occurred with Y2K, at the turn of the century 20 years ago. With the resulting revenue classified as “huge,” Doug noted that tens of billions of devices will need upgrades or replacements to avoid disaster. It’s a matter of QKD (physics based) versus PQC (math based). By the end of the decade, there could be three to five billion in revenue addressing this issue alone with quantum computers, Doug suggested.

OK, this is a pretty darn rosy picture. But Doug does point out a few things that could derail the growth. He’s not concerned about the current lack of powerful-enough hardware to carry this forward, since the hardware companies have convincing roadmaps. He IS concerned there’s not enough easy-to-use software. And the biggest red flag, according to Doug and many others, is the labor shortage. Too few people are trained to work in the quantum industry. Workforce development is critical for truly meaningful growth.

Doug wrapped up his talk with sage advice:

First, manage expectations. This is a decades-long process, it won’t happen overnight. Be patient and be confident the industry will thrive.

Next, think carefully about how you should participate in the industry:

  • Providers: think about where you best fit in the ecosystem to realistically provide differentiated value.
  • Investors: perform due diligence carefully; not everyone will succeed in this difficult industry.
  • End users: start investigating how quantum technology can have a positive impact on your organization, even with just a proof of concept right now, and get your staff trained.
  • Educators: continue helping industry by building a quantum-ready workforce with relevant skills.
  • Governments: support basic research and educational programs but also think about how you can be a consumer of large-scale quantum technology.

Doug suggested governments treat the emerging quantum industry like it treated the space race in the 1960s. “Governments can issue purchase orders to companies, much like the space program helped the semiconductor industry. Purchase orders are much stronger than grants, I challenge you,” Doug concluded.


As an American, I’m guilty of being primarily a one-language person. Sure, I can understand and speak a bit of Spanish and Italian, due to long-ago high school and college courses. And living in southern California regularly brings opportunities to speak snippets of Spanish. But if I really want to understand, or be understood, it’s English.

Fortunately, many countries are lightyears ahead of the U.S as far as learning non-native languages. Many people speak two, three and even more languages – and English is almost universally taught.
I’m struck by this linguistic aptitude again and again as I work in the quantum tech field. While it’s not unusual for technology companies to interact, especially at international conferences (remember those?), there seems to be something special about the quantum tech ecosystems now being formed and embraced. While previous technology advances tended to be defined by a single large company, or perhaps a geographic area like Silicon Valley, today’s quantum tech ecosystems are global in every aspect, and this is being accepted as the norm.

For example, quantum tech startups not only are taking shape around the globe, but most have a truly cosmopolitan workforce filled with brilliant scientists and engineers who have relocated following university stints to find exciting career opportunities in this flourishing field. Native tongues are far-flung — from Europe, the Middle East, South America, Africa and Asia — yet communication and collaboration come readily in English.

It’s not only the startups with this distinctively international flavor. Nonprofits, supported by industry players, proactively advance quantum tech ecosystems around the world; there is no central “hub” of quantum tech. These organizations bring greater awareness about both the potential and the realities of quantum technology, are fostering quantum education to support the growing labor needs in this nascent industry and provide forums that encourage collaboration. Yes, there is intense competition in this field, but I have also seen a lively collaborative spirit that easily jumps across geographical borders.
One such group, aptly named OneQuantum, is headquartered in the U.S. but its flavor is decidedly international. Not even two years old, it has created chapters around the world: Nepal, South Africa, Balkan, Nordic, Canada, Zimbabwe, Kenya, UAE, India, Libya, UK, Japan, Chile and Argentina. By the time you read this, I suspect there may be more. Each chapter, which has a local leader, holds local events for chapter members, but virtual summits also attract online participants from around the world. Last week, for example, I tuned into the South Africa chapter summit and virtually met not only some from the South African quantum community, but others, like me, who live in other regions but are eager to grasp this industry from an international perspective.

One other OneQuantum chapter – Women in Quantum — is not tied to specific geography and so far, has held five virtual summits that have drawn enthusiastic attention from all corners. Virtual career fairs tacked onto these summits have made them even more popular – with both employers and employees.
This global perspective has served the fledgling quantum industry well. It’s likely that we will see more, not fewer, nationalities, languages and cultures accessing the multiple quantum ecosystems. And given the more limiting perspectives of past technology advances, this is truly refreshing.

A Down-to-Earth Quantum Discussion for Businesspeople

As the owner of a PR agency with an enviable roster of quality quantum technology clients, I am reading a lot of articles and watching webinars I find somewhere between slightly perplexing and totally confusing. I am not a scientist nor an engineer, but I’ve written materials for both through the years, That said, at times I find myself grappling with quantum terms that truly boggle my mind. I don’t think I’m alone among us quantum “laypeople.” Fortunately, at HKA we have a team of savvy, scientifically minded PR folks who understand the esoteric quantum terms and take great pride in translating our clients’ work into prose that helps the media tell these complex technology stories.

I’m telling you this because I was absolutely overjoyed to view a Zoom webinar last week that was on the topic of quantum technology yet focused on the looming real-world business applications. Now they were talking my language! Yes, the series is cleverly titled Entangled Discussions using one of the esoteric terms I was referring to, but the moderator, John Barnes, and the panelists from Quantum London, addressed how the insurance industry will benefit when quantum computers come of age.

Panelists Emanuele Colonnella and Anahita Zardoshti were articulate and fascinating to me. I had to laugh when Emanuele, the founder, revealed the idea for their company was hatched in a London pub in 2019. My company, too, had its origins on a cocktail napkin with a colleague several decades ago, so I immediately felt a kinship.

Quantum London’s tagline is “The business impact of quantum computing.” Refreshing to see! It is an organization with more than 3,600 followers/members, plus 400+ in two Meetup groups. With online events, Quantum London attracts participants way beyond London’s confines. The LinkedIn profile tells the tale: “Quantum is coming. How soon do non-techies need to care? We say right now!”

Many of us know that quantum computing is destined to enable society to address hugely challenging issues, ranging from climate change to cancer research. There certainly are skeptics and the jury is out as far as when this will occur. In the meantime, this was a real-world conversation, with these folks in the insurance industry predicting more immediate benefits.

Zardoshti, a young woman with a deep physics background now working in insurance, was articulate and easy to understand. She looks forward to the day when quantum computing can enhance risk simulation for events such as major weather catastrophes.

“Data is key in this industry, the more the better. But the more information you have, the harder it is to process,” she said. “We’re looking forward to having quantum computers help in this regard with machine learning algorithms.” She added that detecting patterns of insurance fraud in healthcare is another potentially valuable task for quantum computers.

An audience member asked whether the arrival of quantum computing would reduce the workforce. Moderator John Barnes, whose Entangled Positions company recruits specifically for quantum tech jobs, scoffed at that notion. “Yes, machine learning will replace the work of some people, but it’s fascinating how technology works hand-in-hand with human counterparts.” He said there will be a need for more retraining, especially for new jobs that don’t now exist.

“This is an old problem that happens with every new technology,” Colonnella said. “New jobs will be created in the quantum space and really, it’s an exciting space in which to play . . . When you have a lot of data and a lot of complexity, that’s where quantum computing can make a real difference.”

Barnes added, “The quantum revolution will touch on every aspect of business and every role.”

Perhaps that’s why Barnes is hosting this monthly series Entangled Discussions.

My takeaway as a longtime business owner? Whether you understand the science behind it or not, businesses everywhere need to understand how the quantum revolution will impact their sector and see where its benefits will apply.

Experts Agree: The Time is NOW for Quantum Ethics Discussion

Experts agree that the time to explore ethical issues as they relate to quantum technologies is now, not tomorrow.

With initial commercial applications likely coming to market in the next 3 to 5 years, and powerful fault-tolerant systems possible within the next 10 years, they believe ethical situations should be analyzed and discussed today so society can avoid undesirable outcomes as has occurred before with new technologies.

Key issues include ensuring the human benefits of quantum computing are available across nations, ensuring the wealth created is distributed equally as well, and to circumvent the potential misuse of quantum by totalitarian nations.

We are glad to see these issues being raised and were privileged to be part of promoting a recent documentary on the topic by The Quantum Daily (TQD). Take a look at “Quantum Ethics/A Call to Action by The Quantum Daily” and let us know your thoughts, too.

15-Year-Old Anisha and Her Journey to the Quantum Wonderland

Anisha Musti is unlike any other teenager I have ever met. And as we move into 2021, as our world faces a multitude of thorny issues, it is reassuring to recognize that the younger generation may, ultimately, come to the rescue. If you, too, welcome this reassurance, read on.We met Anisha, a 15-year-old teen from New York, while working with our clients in quantum computing. Without a doubt, Anisha is the smartest 15-year-old I have met. But I would hardly call her a geek: she is articulate, personable and attractive. So-called “experts” told her she really couldn’t begin studying quantum computing until she was in graduate school, and certainly a Ph.D. in physics or math would be her calling card to enter the field.

To her credit, Anisha scoffed at this advice. She had watched a YouTube video on quantum computing when she was 14 and suddenly discovered a thirst for learning what this strange new field was all about. She admits that she felt like she was “falling down the quantum rabbit hole.” The more she learned, the more she wanted to know.

In Anisha’s words, “Quantum really piqued my interest. It sounded like something out of a Marvel movie and seemed like it had the potential to change the world.” Not surprising, given her uber-mature view, Anisha learned to code a quantum algorithm to detect Parkinson’s disease and published articles on the subject. At age 14.

So, what is she doing at age 15? During a Zoom interview, Anisha explained she felt compelled to do something about the lack of resources for high school students who wished to learn about quantum. She didn’t want to wait until grad school. Heck, she didn’t want to wait until college.

During a talk Anisha gave to the virtual Women in Quantum summit in December, Anisha explained, “When we look at the issues that people are attempting to tackle in the quantum field, we see things like qubit control, qubit quality and decoherence. But no one is focusing on the people.”

“We call it the people problem. If we don’t get the next generation’s smartest minds to work on these issues, we won’t be able to truly make progress in quantum computing. Introducing the subject to people halfway through their undergraduate programs is, in many cases, too late. They already have their lives and careers planned out and many won’t be compelled to, all of a sudden, attend grad school for quantum,” Anisha told the audience comprised mostly of women, and men, who were either already quantum researchers or graduate students.

Anisha’s analysis is spot on, as the companies we work with while doing PR in this space all say the same thing: “Recruiting qualified quantum scientists is one of our biggest challenges.”

Anisha is not one to just raise an issue and hope someone else solves it. She founded an organization called Q-munity. Asked to explain it, she says simply, “It allows other students, like me, to learn quantum computing and connect with students around the world trying to do the same.”

After beginning in November 2019, despite the worldwide pandemic, Anisha has achieved:

  • Several thousand members from 26+ countries
  • A quantum summer camp for 50+ high school students
  • More than a dozen workshops, with tutorials and original content posted on the Q-munity website

As Anisha spoke at the Women in Quantum Summit, the chat box lit up with praise and encouragement for the teen. Everyone was amazed at not only Anisha’s own abilities but were astounded at what she has accomplished thus far – and what lie ahead for her and her young colleagues.Anisha commented, “All of us could make a huge impact by writing and creating quantum solutions to world problems. For myself, I aspire to continue to make meaningful impact using quantum technology, but I believe one of my biggest contributions would be enabling others to do the same as me, it is the multiplier effect. My impact is even bigger when I help give someone else tools to make their own impact.”

People ask Anisha what’s next. Don’t be surprised by her answer:

“I want to impact billions, change the world. It might sound like a 15-year-old’s naïve dream but that’s okay. I want to solve world problems using cutting-edge technology and at the same time, enable others to do the same. I’m super excited to build the future.”

Want to know more about Anisha’s amazing efforts? Log onto her website, Anisha or the Q-munity website , and perhaps take a look at the conference she’s setting up on February 6-7, 2021.