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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? 

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