Time

Speaker

Audio

00:00:06:18

Number Station Recording

One, five, seven, two, eight.

00:00:11:00

Number Station Recording

One, five, seven, two, eight

00:00:14:24

Number Station Recording

One, five, seven, two, eight

00:00:18:20

Number Station Recording

One, five, seven, two, eight.

00:00:20:00

Number Station Recording

One, five, seven, two, eight.

00:00:26:14

Number Station Recording

One, five, seven, two, eight.

 00:00:31:17

Number Station Recording

One, five, seven, two-

00:01:33:20

Scientist 1

So this will become a quantum computer?

00:01:35:17

Scientist 2

Yes, eventually.

00:01:51:17

News reader 1 (OS)

Physicists around the world were looking for it…

00:01:54:16

News reader 1

…and in the end the Dutch found it.

00:01:56:14

News reader 2 (OS)

The scientific world hold its breath as Delft nuclear physicist Leo Kouwenhoven…

00:02:01:13

News reader 2

…announces the creation of the Majorana particle.

 00:02:04:07

Leo Kouwenhoven

It’s not marijuana.

00:02:06:08

Leo Kouwenhoven

It’s Majorana.

00:02:08:00

News reader 3

Now it has been found in Delft: the Majorana particle.

00:02:12:04

Leo Kouwenhoven

This particle enables the building of quantum computers.

00:02:21:12

Interviewer (OS)

Leo Kouwenhoven, you’ve already won the Spinoza Award…

00:02:24:01

Interviewer (OS)

…and you’re being mentioned as a Nobel Prize candidate.

00:02:27:15

Leo Kouwenhoven

Let’s wait and see.

00:02:30:18

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

All this praise…

00:02:32:06

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

…makes it seem as if all the work has been done.

00:02:45:0

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

It starts off when you hear about it and you’re interested.

00:02:50:19

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

These Majoranas were a perfect fit.

00:02:54:13

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

A number of American and Israeli theorists came up with something…

00:02:59:16

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

…which people could create using a particular technology.

00:03:03:04

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

It was exactly the technology we had invented four or five years earlier.

00:03:09:05

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

So we were…

00:03:11:01

Leo Kouwenhoven

We were the best before we’d even started.

00:03:44:19

Leo Kouwenhoven

We’ve signed contracts with several parties, we promised, I have to admit we actually promised a lot in order to have these people sign the contract, because what we’ve promised, we’ve not only promised a quantum computer and a quantum internet, what we’ve actually promised – and maybe that’s good for you to know – we actually promised the first quantum computer, and that made all the money come in. To make a sort of metaphor, if our ambition is to be the first to achieve a sort of quantum computer, then that automatically means you have to have the ambition to be a part of the champion’s league. So that’s ambitious, that takes a lot of things, you know you have to put effort into it to get to the top. You sort of feel it yourself - do these obstacles, do these problems make you feel challenged, and you actually regret that there’s not more than 24 hours in the day so you can actually do more of those things, or do you lose energy, you’d rather do other things? I think this is something everyone feels and I think we should be honest, to recognise it, and make a fair decision based on that. 

00:05:05:17

Voice Over

The way to the quantum computer is long and complicated.

00:05:11:04

Voice Over

To get there, Leo Kouwenhoven has to enlist the efforts of exactly the right talented young scientists.

00:05:19:15

Vincent Mourik

Right, Guus, we’re illegally parked.

00:05:22:12

Voice Over

They will venture into completely unknown  territory.

00:05:34:00

David van Woerkom

You remember that you promised me you won’t take a single day off? I also have a party this evening.

00:05:40:00

 

Voice on Phone

(Inaudible)

00:05:42:15

 

David van Woerkom

Oh, OK. No problem. See you.

00:05:48:13

Voice Over

 

David van Woerkom already attracted attention as a student. He was better at placing nanowires on a silver plate than others.

00:05:56:13

Voice Over

 

By now, he has become one of the driving forces behind the research.

00:06:04:11

Interviewer (OS)

You’ve surrounded yourself with Nobel Prize winners?

00:06:08:03

David van Woerkom

Yes, I like collecting things, and they might motivate me. I hope that when I’m 50, or 49, as Leo is now, my whole wall will be filled with them. This is a temporary office, so I haven’t bothered to put them up. But I like them. This was the first one I got. I’d put it up on the wall, and everyone who came into my room had to laugh. Just one looked a bit silly, I guess. But now I tell people about them full of pride.

00:06:46:11

Interviewer (OS)

They’re saying Leo might be a candidate.

00:06:51:08

David van Woerkom

Yes, but more has to happen if he’s to win it. I’m also convinced of it at the moment, but not based on this one paper. The Majorana particle has a number of qualities, and now we simply have to show more of them.

00:07:18:11

TV Interviewer (OS)

This is about the Majorana particle. Can you explain what they are?

00:07:23:05

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

Yes, I wanted to use a little chip for that, but your editor suggested I start with these building blocks. It’s hard to imagine it, as it all happens at nanoscale.

00:07:34:14

TV Interviewer

Is there anything you can compare it to in terms of size?

00:07:37:18

Leo Kouwenhoven

It’s a thousand times smaller than a hair. The last two blocks were the hardest. They had to fit exactly halfway on top here, at nanoscale. I can do it using these blocks. The PhD students sitting over here in the front row did this by using nanotechnology.

00:07:56:16

TV Interviewer (2)

So where are the Majorana particles?

00:07:58:15

Leo Kouwenhoven

Those theorists predicted that if you built this the right way, in the right conditions, one Majorana particle would appear here, and another one here.

00:08:11:22

Leo Kouwenhoven

This particle, predicted as far back as 1937, had not yet been observed

00:08:22:08

Voice Over

The follow-up research is as baffling as the Majorana particle itself.

00:08:28:03

Voice Over

Using fridges that have to have a lower temperature than the lowest temperature in the universe, and keep leaking.

00:08:36:08

Voice Over

Using samples carrying those ultrathin wires. What the Kouwenhoven team are actually measuring, is a mystery to outsiders.

00:08:45:17

Interviewer (OS)

What is the hardest part of the Majorana research?

00:08:55:24

Vincent Mourik

 

Two aspects, I think. No, it’s just one thing and that is a lot has been thought up and worked out on paper. Certain things are supposed to happen, and they seem to be very cool, and we’ve possibly caught a very first glimpse of them. But no one knows how it will work out in practice.

00:09:31:23

Leo Kouwenhoven

Selecting people is always difficult. You want people who can make a difference, who are a little strange, who have original ideas, who can do things that today we don’t even know have to be done.

00:09:49:24

Leo Kouwenhoven

They have to be smart, a little streetwise, self-willed enough to push on with their own ideas, instead of adapting them to the general opinion;

00:10:03:07

Leo Kouwenhoven

At age 18 you still have a lot to learn, from 23 on you’re valuable, and you reach your peak at the end of your 20s.

00:10:11:07

Leo Kouwenhoven

At 35 you’re no longer working here.

00:10:15:11

Leo Kouwenhoven

There’s only honour at stake.

00:10:19:23

Vincent Mourik

Good boy!

00:10:22:10

Vincent Mourik

Don’t shit in my cup now.

00:10:29:16

Unknown

What’s this?

00:10:30:20

Vincent Mourik

Get on, Guus. You know who to choose, don’t you.

00:10:35:20

Unknown (OS)

What does he say?

00:10:37:10

Vincent Mourik

Wolfgang, in two months’ time he’ll be saying ‘Sieg Heil’.

00:11:01:20

Leo Kouwenhoven

Yes, ‘the ability to fabricated’… Are you actually dyslexic?

00:11:08:16

David van Woerkom

No.

00:11:09:00

Leo Kouwenhoven

No?

00:11:10:11

Leo Kouwenhoven

You wrote this without having an excuse?

00:11:13:14

David van Woerkom

Yes, this is what I…

00:11:15:20

Leo Kouwenhoven

But you were tested for dyslexia?

00:11:17:15

David van Woerkom

Yes.

00:11:18:11

David van Woerkom

It was dubious, but not positive. My head is just messy.

00:11:24:21

Leo Kouwenhoven

Can you first tell us where your ambition lies, so we can evaluate things on that level?

00:11:32:17

David van Woerkom

My… You’ve got a very… What I’m going to say means a lot to me, as it’s my motivation, my drive. I may be naïve but I believe I can do a really good PhD. I don’t want to be average, I want to excel. So my motivation is to complete my PhD with distinction if I can. I don’t know if I will be able to do so, but whenever I work extra or at the weekend or at night, I think: the other people who got there probably also chose to go to the lab instead of watching TV. But if I compare myself to the others in my class, I can see that I’m not that smart.

00:12:29:23

Leo Kouwenhoven

There are different types of intelligence.

00:12:33:09

David van Woerkom

I think I can understand it, but…

00:12:36:17

Leo Kouwenhoven

Yes, but I’m saying there are other types of intelligence. The ability to see the bigger picture and thus the possible solutions without necessarily grasping all the individual technical steps.

00:12:56:02

David van Woerkom

Anyway… Can you see a scientific career for me?

00:13:01:20

Leo Kouwenhoven

Yes. You should definitely give it a try.

00:13:04:03

David van Woerkom

Definitely.

00:13:05:16

Leo Kouwenhoven

I can’t see any reason why you shouldn’t.

00:13:08:01

David van Woerkom

In many things I’ve tried before, sports and things, I was often pretty good, but I was never in the top five per cent. I want to change that now. This time I hope I can be at the top.

00:13:28:23

Leo Kouwenhoven

Yes. Go for it.

00:13:20:23

Leo Kouwenhoven

Doing a postdoc. I would add here, a postdoc with the very best.

00:13:36:16

David van Woerkom

Prestigious? Would that be your advice?

00:13:40:00

Leo Kouwenhoven

Yes.

00:13:46:10

Vincent Mourik

Good boy! Isn’t it nice? Look, Guus, he’s working hard. He’s on the right track.

00:13:54:22

Vincent Mourik

Good boy.

00:13:59:08

Kun Zuo

I’m of course in the QC lab.

00:14:02:12

Interviewer (OS)

Do you have pictures of your village? Your hometown?

00:14:06:00

Kun Zuo

No, I don’t have pictures with me.

00:14:08:01

Interviewer (OS)

No?

00:14:08:16

Kun Zuo

No.

00:14:09:05

Interviewer (OS)

So you’re not homesick?

00:14:12:00

Kun Zuo

In a sense yeah I’m homesick, of my parents. I don’t, I don’t… OK, I don’t want to go to live in  the village anymore, let’s say it like that. Maybe only for holidays but I will never live there anymore I would say.

00:14:29:22

Interviewer (OS)

Did you dream of doing interesting physics while you were in the village?

00:14:37:16

Kun Zuo

Not really, I just wanted to be a scientist, that’s all.

00:14:41:17

Kun Zuo

I have a phone call.

00:14:43:07

Interviewer (OS)

Yes.

00:14:45:12

Kun Zuo

Yeah. Oh, the chip is in my box.

00:14:57:23

Kun Zuo

One of the motivations that I wanted to come here to study was because I want to work on some quantum dot or some biological sensors that can find or detect tumours in your system at an early stage. I was working in a hospital as a medical physicist which basically means to fix machines in the radiotherapy department. They deal with people with cancers, tumours, and I felt really depressed to work there, because people come for a few months, they die because of the tumour. And then I said ok, if I really want to do some study, I might want to go in that direction.

00:15:53:06

Kun Zuo (OS)

I just want to help people, that’s all.

00:15:58:24

Voice Over

The quantum computer is a wonder machine. Its unprecedented computing power is expected to solve problems that our current computers simply can’t cope with. Like the energy problem. But much is also expected of personalized medicine. Medication that can be tailored exactly to each individual.

00:16:23:11

Interviewer

When did you fall ill, Leo?

00:16:27:17

Leo Kouwenhoven

In 2006, I think. Let me think properly now. The year that I… Late 2006.

00:16:37:06

Interviewer

What were you diagnosed with?

00:16:39:11

Leo Kouwenhoven

Do you want to know that? Why?

00:16:49:12

Interviewer

If I want to make a portrait of you, a major thing like your illness should be a part of it.

00:16:55:15

Leo Kouwenhoven

Yes, but it shouldn’t dominate the story.  Of course an illness like that is a major event. And it does change you… but on the other hand it doesn’t. And there is danger that too many things might be reduced to it. ‘I see, it’s because of his illness.’ ‘Surviving the illness has led to this.’

00:17:39:23

Leo Kouwenhoven

I think more can be traced back to Pijnacker. Even though I don’t go back there much anymore. I think this background and this mentality helped shape me more than the fact I had cancer and chemotherapy and a long… And a few years of therapy. At a certain point you’ve recovered, and for me that was the end of it.

00:18:29:16

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

My dad was a farmer, and many of my relatives, aunts and uncles were market gardeners. The agricultural life.

00:18:38:23

Interviewer (OS)

No scientific ambitions?

00:18:40:19

Leo Kouwenhoven

No, no, no.

00:18:43:12

Interviewer (OS)

There was no room for them in Pijnacker?

00:18:46:07

Leo Kouwenhoven

No doubt there was room for them, but there was no one, no role model.

00:18:54:00

Interviewer (OS)

Your father died young.

00:18:56:08

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

When he was 52.

00:18:58:19

Interviewer (OS)

And you were…

00:19:00:00

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

14.

00:19:01:06

Interviewer (OS)

Did you then become the man of the house?

00:19:03:24

Leo Kouwenhoven

I already was. I mean… I was a bit. On a farm you naturally do certain things that your sisters don’t. I didn’t have to do the dishes. But I did have to do the cows. Delivering calves.

00:19:25:14

Interviewer (OS)

Did you do that?

00:19:26:16

Leo Kouwenhoven

Sure. That’s what you do on a farm.

00:19:37:02

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

So the only study I could see myself doing was veterinary medicine. But I didn’t get in. So I studied physics instead for a year, with the idea of trying again the next year. But I liked it so much here in Delft that I stayed.

00:19:56:22

Interviewer (OS)

Why physics?

00:19:59:09

Leo Kouwenhoven

I’m not sure. I thought it was natural science, and the closest thing to veterinary medicine. I didn’t know what physics entailed. I had no idea particle physics and all that had anything to do with 'natural science’. I knew nothing about it.

00:20:12:22

Interviewer (OS)

You were thinking of nature.

00:20:16:06

Leo Kouwenhoven

Something like that. Wind and lightning and all that. The science of the outdoors.

00:20:28:05

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

I never imagined I could get anywhere near any fundamentally new physical principles. But I did, with the Majoranas. So that’s fantastic.

00:21:02:19

Voice Over

Ronald Hanson got his PhD with Leo Kouwenhoven, and recently proved there is such a crazy thing as quantum voodoo: that two light particles, even though they’re half a mile apart, are still inextricably linked to one another. In doing so, he proved Albert Einstein wrong, who didn’t believe in this quantum-mechanical phenomenon.

00:21:27:02

Ronald Hanson

Let’s say you have two marbles, both of which have a certain colour. I look at this marble and see it’s white. I’m assuming it was already white before I looked at it. Einstein thought that way too. But suppose I have two marbles, one white and one blue, and they’re quantum marbles. I can put them together so the colours blend, in such a way that I can no longer tell which marble has which colour. All I know is that there’s a white part and a blue part. This is true when they’re close together or far apart. Now it gets strange: when I look at one of the marbles when they’re apart and force it to choose a colour, it will turn white or blue – and if one turns white, the other one will turn blue instantly. But before I looked at this one, the other one did not yet have a colour. Einstein thought this was odd: by measuring something over here, something changes over here. This one had no colour, but it turns blue or white. That would be faster than the speed of light, so it must be wrong. Either things can travel faster than the speed of light, or qualities don’t exist until we look at them. The marble had no colour before I looked at it. When we’d done the experiment, I was still in my quantum intuition. Then I started thinking with my ‘normal’ intuition: there was some measurement, and at the same time this other thing happened because of their correlation? That’s not possible. So I got stuck in my own normal intuition. I was like Einstein: this is just not possible. And I still have those moments. So the ‘deeper’ world behaves much stranger than what you just called a ‘classical’ world.

00:23:25:12

Interviewer (OS)

What would you call it?

00:23:27:10

Ronald Hanson

We call it the quantum world, but really the quantum world is the world. Most people think the quantum world is the fundamental world, and what we see is a strange kind of edge where it all seems to go smoothly.

00:23:46:09

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

I think I want to start with the Turing machine and the image behind me.

00:23:51:15

Leo Kouwenhoven

Then I take my plant, as I want to enter holding a plant. Then I want to say that those green leaves are doing their own computations in a way. Then I want to come back to photosynthesis, using a better model than this, to explain what happens in photosynthesis: light falls on it, dislodges an electron from one of the atoms, which then has to travel to another atom to cause a chemical reaction there, prompting the release of oxygen. So from light to oxygen. If it had to look in a traditional way for all those paths to take it to its destination, it would take a very long time, and we wouldn’t have any oxygen.

00:24:43:06 

Huib Hudig

Yes.

00:24:43:13

Leo Kouwenhoven

But quantum: if it can split up in superposition and take lots of paths at the same time, it can reach the intended atom in no time, and release the oxygen atom.

00:24:59:00

Huib Hudig

Yes.

00:25:03:14

Huib Hudig

If we’re talking about quantum, they may have trouble understanding.

00:25:19:15

Voice Over

We’re trapped in our reality. We can’t observe real reality. Yet nature itself behaves according to the bizarre rules of this real reality: quantum mechanics, where one object can be in two places at once, for instance. The quantum computer will finally enable us to compute the way nature computes – the way the cosmos computes. Its computing power will be unprecedented.

00:26:02:08

Leo Kouwenhoven

Um, we’ve made actually a little animation, and you see here a labyrinth. We put classical electrons into this labyrinth, and the way for the electrons to find the exit of the labyrinth is what we would do – we try path by path, and every time it’s not the solution, we try again. So sequentially, we go through the system until we find the exit. But a quantum electron would split itself up and in parallel, in superposition, take all the paths at the same time, also reaching the exit, but now a lot faster. And that is the magic of a quantum computer, all these actions, all these different possibilities can be checked in a massive parallel calculation and find the answer in a single step.

00:27:09:10

Michael Freedman (OS)

Because we live in our world, our conventional classical world, um…

00:27:15:14

Michael Freedman

…we’re prejudiced in favour of it, you know, we like it, we’re used to it, but it’s um, it’s really a very shallow place compared to the quantum reality of the universe.

00:27:30:03

Voice Over

Michael Freedman is a mathematician of the highest calibre. He has won all major awards, including the Fields Medal.

00:27:38:14

Voice Over

In his teens he scaled impossible slopes, and in his twenties, he solved impossible problems. For Microsoft he’s working out the best route to the quantum computer.

00:27:51:04

Michael Freedman (OS)

I like the analogy of the shadows on Plato’s cave – you know, there is a quantum reality which is much richer than the one we can perceive with our senses, and we know about it because of experiments, so we know it’s there, but we’re not really part of it…

00:28:08:21

Michael Freedman

We’re sort of a lower level.

00:28:12:14

Interviewer (OS)

Even you, as head of station Q?

00:28:15:07

Michael Freedman

We are all- I’m afraid we’re all at a lower level.

00:28:20:20

Michael Freedman (OS)

We have to take the perspective that we’re just babes in the woods, and don’t know what the applications are. At the end of World War two, conventional computers were thought to be good for predicting the weather and designing nuclear weapons, and no one had a third application in mind. Turns out weather can’t be predicted, and nuclear weapons are of no use to anyone, but playing music is very important. Giving birth to something that could eventually change the world – that does have a level of excitement.

00:29:03:19

Voice Over

Charles Marcus is an American physicist at the Niels Bohr institute in Copenhagen. He came from a scientific home. His mother was a professor of psychology. She had her own lab, where Marcus was a guinea pig in his spare time.

00:29:22:18

Grey-Haired Woman

You smell good.

00:29:23:15

Charles Marcus

I do?

00:29:24:24

Charles Marcus

It’s hotel soap

00:29:26:23

Grey-Haired Woman

Is that what it is?

00:29:30:02

Grey-Haired Woman

How can he read and walk at the same time?

00:29:34:16

Leo Kouwenhoven

Huh?

00:29:35:08

Grey-Haired Woman

How can you read and walk at the same time?

00:29:36:12

Charles Marcus

 The key to- It’s the key to his success.

00:29:40:04

Grey-Haired Woman

I remember vividly sweeping the sidewalk, and Harold Urey came down the steps from his daughter’s house, and I remember standing there, I couldn’t move, I was just so in awe, I couldn’t believe it. That was-

00:29:58:18

Leo Kouwenhoven

Why?

00:29:59:10

Grey-Haired Woman

Oh, so he was a Nobel-  He was a Nobel Prize winning chemist. That was- That was Harold – so Harold Barnager grew up across the street from us.

00:30:07:08

Leo Kouwenhoven

Yeah, I know.

00:30:10:10

Leo Kouwenhoven

I grew up on a farm.

00:30:11:24

Grey-Haired Woman

Oh did you?

00:30:15:15

Grey-Haired Woman

The life was simple?

00:30:17:08

Leo Kouwenhoven

Life was very simple, so it’s a farm life. Cows.

00:30:21:17

Charles Marcus

Non-academic parents?

00:30:23:05

Leo Kouwenhoven

No… Non-academic town.

00:30:25:13

Voice Over

Leo Kouwenhoven and Charles Marcus have been friends since they were students. Today they are the world’s main experts on Majoranas. Both are supported by Microsoft, but they pursue their individual success.

00:30:41:12

Charles Marcus (OS)

The way I’ve described it to people who don’t quite understand it is when people have said to us oh come on  you guys have been doing this for so long why don’t you stop competing? And the answer that I’ve always given is, well like when you’re playing ping pong with somebody , and someone says to you well why don’t you stop  competing? We’re not really competing we’re just playing ping pong. You know – what I’m going to deliberately lose? No, you just, you know, we’re trying to win at playing ping pong. I mean we’re both fully acknowledging that it doesn’t matter who wins. I guess we have another opponent, that is bigger than our opposition with one another

00:31:22:14

Interviewer

And that is?

00:31:23:04

Charles Marcus

Not understanding things. That’s a much-

00:31:27:08

Grey-Haired Woman

What did you say?

00:31:27:22

Charles Marcus

Not understanding things. That’s a much bigger and more profound opponent, and in that fight Leo and I are on the same side of the desk.

00:31:43:12

Voice Over

Station Q is a Microsoft research institute surrounded by much secrecy. If someone were to bomb this barbecue, we would never have a quantum computer. Carefully sheltered from the press, the quantum physics elite meet twice a year at Station Q. There is a strict invitation policy. Those who can’t show results will not be invited next time.

00:32:13:21

Voice Over

At Station Q, everyone is expected to report on their own research to the most critical audience imaginable. No one is spared, but what happens inside Station Q remains inside Station Q.

00:32:29:10

Craig Mundie (OS)

People who come here come here because they’re at the top of their game on a global basis with respect to whatever the particular topic at hand is. And so the team on the theory side, looking through the community found the work Leo had done, and invited him to come and talk with us about that. You know, you could say he was of the right mindset to recognise that the collaboration here would be as beneficial to his mission as it was to our mission.

00:33:05:20

Leo Kouwenhoven

I would like to talk about components, it will finally lead to a circuit that we can use as a simple circuit that we can use for doing

00:33:14:23

Audience Member 1

So are the last two statements from theory, or do you have experimental evidence? Once you have a magnetic field, um… you’re not technically protected against disorder.

00:33:24:09

Leo Kouwenhoven

Oh yeah, OK, OK. This is only true up to some lengths.

00:33:28:00

Audience Member 2

If there are other modes, there may or may not be other modes right?

00:33:31:04

Leo Kouwenhoven

No, no, in this system it’s a single mode.

00:33:33:07

Audience Member 1

You know it from experiment, or…?

00:33:35:00

Leo Kouwenhoven

Yeah.

00:33:36:01

Audience Member 3

How do you know, that’s the question?

00:33:37:02

Leo Kouwenhoven

Well that’s a good one – I know it from theory, I finally believe a theoretical prediction, but it’s a good point, so never trust a prediction.

00:33:49:12

Leo Kouwenhoven

So this is the outline – Sankar, Sankar -  this is the outline of the presentation.

00:33:55:16

Interviewer (OS)

At Station Q, there are only renowned physicists. People who grew up in intellectual environments. There you are, a farmer’s son from Pijnacker.

00:34:06:09

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

Yes.

00:34:08:02

Leo Kouwenhoven

But I think I have a clear role within that community. I listen carefully to these very smart people. Someone like Michael Freedman was educated with all kinds of stuff. I think both his parents were professors.

00:34:27:11

Leo Kouwnehoven (OS)

He has so much knowledge, and from such a young age. He has developed so quickly, going to the right schools. He was still young when he made this mathematical invention which won him the Fields Medal, so he’s incredibly erudite. My role is listening carefully to these people, and translating it into something usable. So it doesn’t often happen that I make the wrong choice, back the wrong horse.

00:35:18:19

Voice Over

Back in Holland. Leo Kouwenhoven is lobbying for the final time at the Ministry of Economic Affairs about the establishment of a research centre in Delft entirely dedicated to quantum mechanics. At stake are 135 million euros over a ten year period, to be invested by the Dutch government.

00:35:39:01

Minister 1

Yes, but a commitment from industry will make your case so much stronger. And It would be nice if apart from Microsoft which rules out others like IBM which I know better because I used to work for them. That would almost be a no-go.

00:36:05:16

Minister 2 (OS)

What about other European parties? We’ve contacted the European Commission? Are there any European players that are not at odds with Microsoft?

00:36:18:20

Leo Kouwenhoven

Microsoft Europe would be an obvious option. I think Microsoft will be our main partner.

00:36:27:11

Minister 2 (OS)

I sometimes get the impression that you spend a lot of time doing business. Is a scientist also an entrepreneur?

00:36:36:17

Leo Kouwenhoven

No, but you have to be smart if you want science to be financed.

00:36:43:21

Leo Kouwenhoven

If you show up at these meetings in a three piece suit and tie, all you raise is distrust. Like a second-hand car salesman: there must be something wrong under the hood. So you mustn’t go over the top, but neither should you sit quietly at the back like a wallflower without making your presence felt. That won’t work either.

00:37:11:08

Leo Kouwenhoven

If I have  the back-up and I can take this plan to Microsoft and they can guarantee ten per cent for the next five years, then it might take off?

00:37:29:01

Minister 1

If you’ve got about two million in-kind and cash, then we should try and draft a proposal which we can all agree on.

00:37:41:16

Leo Kouwenhoven

About this agreeing… Could we change the order, say…

00:37:50:24

Minister 1

No, if you go to Microsoft, you should be able to say: this is what I need from you to complete things.

00:38:03:23

Leo Kouwenhoven

If your long-term aim is to build a quantum computer, you have to do these things now. It’s not going to appear by magic.

00:39:09:15

Interviewer (OS)

What do people in Delft think of you?

00:39:14:21

Leo Kouwenhoven

Everyone just loves me! Is that not what you’ve heard?

00:39:20:20

Interviewer (OS)

I’ve heard everyone just loves you. I just though I’d check it.

00:39:26:14

Leo Kouwenhoven

I don’t think it’s true.

00:39:35:02

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

The perception is probably that I push the processes in the direction which is most favourable to myself. The question is: does our team’s success also benefit our wider environment? Do we generate facilities, extra equipment, extra researchers, funds, which is good for our whole institute? I think the answer is, our environment benefits considerably.

00:40:18:21

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

Better, zoom.

00:40:21:13

Leo Kouwenhoven

Many people want you to keep the general picture in mind. You can’t be a fan of Ajax or Feyenood, you have to be a fan of the FA. I don’t get that. I think that’s odd. Because you’ve got your emotions, you’ve got your dream. That means you want to go for something, you support something, so that’s where you concentrate your attention.

00:40:51:09

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

I want my work, in a way, to have a certain meaning.

00:41:24:04

Kun Zou

Ah, ah, ah… Something’s happening.

00:41:25:23

Vincent Mourik

It’s only nanoamps, what the fuck is that?

00:41:31:16

Vincent Mourik

No, nothing. It’s like this.

00:41:34:13

Kun Zuo

You have to pinch it off.

00:41:36:18

Vincent Mourik

And so I think at least one gate is broken or so.

00:41:39:23

Kun Zuo

Nothing?

00:41:40:12

Vincent Mourik

Nothing.

00:41:40:24

Kun Zuo

There cannot be three gates broken, right?

00:41:46:02

Vincent Mourik

Nope, this… Not good.

00:41:49:20

Vincent Mourik

There’s something…

00:41:55:20

Kun Zuo

No, it’s not a sad time. Just… Nothing’s working. No it’s not nothing’s not working. Anyway nothing changed, it’s fine.

00:42:07:14

Interviewer

Tell me, Vincent.

00:42:09:20

Vincent Mourik

What Kun is trying to say is that set up in QC lab is not working, sample is not working, we have a cryostat over there that’s not working, so we’re a bit stuck for the past couple of days, and that depresses you a little bit.

00:42:26:00

Kun Zuo

No…

00:42:26:22

Vincent Mourik

Well now, you’re not-

00:42:28:08

Kun Zuo

It’s another week there.

00:42:30:18

Vincent Mourik

So it’s basically today in particular in the morning you come here and you don’t feel very happy.

 

Interviewer

When you find out that there are no results, basically.

00:42:42:14

Vincent Mourik

I mean that’s for a week or a month, that’s OK. That’s normal. But it’s a bit long.

00:42:49:20

Interviewer (OS)

As in two years.

00:42:50:16

Vincent Mourik

Yes

00:43:06:01

Event Host

Today I can announce the establishment of QuTech, a centre for top education, top research, and top engineering. QuTech will be working on a quantum computer. Projects like the quantum computer are tomorrow’s Delta works. Projects we can only get off the ground with joined efforts, perseverance and ambition. This kind of project is Holland’s calling card to the world. Global challenges, Dutch solutions.

00:43:39:14

Journalist

Shall I button up the jacket?

00:43:42:02

Leo Kouwenhoven

The ministers do it too.

00:43:45:08

Journalist

How important is this first step?

00:43:47:03

Leo Kouwenhoven

It’s very important. This science is being carried out at universities around the world. Because of a number of developments, we happen to be in a good position in Delft to realise the quantum computer. So if we start moving now in the direction of this technology, and bring in the engineering, we’ll put ourselves in a better position. The whole world wants this thing, so In that sense it’s a bit of a race. We’re in pole position, and we want to be off.

00:44:22:22

Journalist

And you want to win.

00:44:24:04

Leo Kouwenhoven

First we want to be off.

00:44:26:14

Journalist

You don’t want to win it?

00:44:27:00

Leo Kouwenhoven

Yes, we’ll w… I’m confident we’ll get far.

00:44:39:12

Unknown (OS)

Hi. Congratulations on this milestone. Nice work. Now all you have to do is build it.

00:44:49:19

Leo Kouwenhoven

Can I have another one?

00:44:51:21

Waiter

What would you like?

00:44:52:21

Leo Kouwenhoven

White wine, please.

00:44:57:18

Woman on phone

I’ve been looking into the quantum computer. And I think the biggest problem for us for tomorrow would be: will viewers be able to understand it?

00:45:11:13

Leo Kouwenhoven

Yes, that is the issue, as we ourselves don’t understand it either.

00:45:17:06

Woman on phone

I’m sorry?

00:45:17:22

Leo Kouwenhoven

We don’t understand it either.

00:45:20:02

Woman on phone

Nor do I. So I’ve been thinking about how we can have an interview which is easy to understand.

00:45:28:13

Leo Kouwenhoven

The thing is: we ourselves don’t understand it either. The principles of the quantum computer cannot be understood, but if you accept them, you can do brilliant things. On the one hand, you can find this annoying and unsatisfactory. But you can also see it as special, that you’re using something which cannot be grasped, but still you can make computers, internet, what have you with it. And you should be able to make clear that if you can incorporate it in devices, it will be very special.

00:46:09:18

Number Station Recording

Two, eight. Ready, ready. Three, Five. Three, Five. Zero, zero, zero, one, one…

00:46:24:00

Interviewer (OS)

If a quantum computer is super powerful, you want it to remain in good hands.

00:46:32:04

Leo Kouwenhoven

To be used well, at least.

00:46:36:04

Interviewer (OS)

In the biblical sense?

00:46:38:13

Good for humanity. For society.

Good for humanity. For society.

00:46:43:24

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

You could invent a thriller-like story, about using the quantum computer to design a synthetic virus which is bad for…

00:46:56:15

Leo Kouwenhoven

All Arabic people probably have something in their DNA typifying them. If you make a virus for that or if you… If you can do personalised medicine, you can also do race poison, or something like that. It would make a good thriller, but I don’t hope it actually…

00:47:22:05

Interviewer (OS)

Imagine having invented gunpowder or the nuclear bomb.

00:47:28:22

Leo Kouwenhoven

Little good can be done with a nuclear bomb, and it was meant as a weapon from the start. So in that sense it’s different.

00:47:38:23

Leo Kouwenhoven

The quantum computer is at least meant for good things.

00:48:01:23

Voice Over

In Delft, the research isn’t getting anywhere. In order to force a breakthrough, a huge machine has been ordered from Finland. It’s a 10 million euro gift from Microsoft Germany, which can make perfect nanowires. But the machine has to be assembled first. This is done in a dust-proof room at the TU Delft. The smallest of leaks, and the machine won’t work.

00:48:30:23

Technician

We are making these all small chambers from the beginning. There is-

00:48:34:20

Interviewer (OS)

Custom made, yeah.

00:48:36:00

 Technician

We are always making custom made.

00:48:40:07

Interviewer (OS)

And do you know what it does?

00:48:42:20

Technician

This system? I don’t know, normally customers know, only customers know what they are doing. And we are just making what they want.

00:49:50:13

Leo Kouwenhoven

So that’s the circulator. The robot.

00:49:53:22

Scientist

Yeah this part is the robot. 

00:49:54:23

Unknown

Wow, it’s big.

00:49:56:21

Unknown

Yes.

00:50:06:23

Interviewer (OS)

What can this machine do?

00:50:09:14

Leo Kouwenhoven

The special thing about this machine, which will be much bigger when it’s ready, is that it enables you to bring together material that normally wouldn’t tolerate each other and stack them atom by atom. We want the semiconductor materials, the nanowires to be covered by superconductors. They’re completely different materials which wouldn’t normally go together. But this machine will enable us to stack these materials atomic layer by atomic layer, to make the perfect entanglement between the two materials.

00:50:50:18

Interviewer (OS)

It could mean a breakthrough?

00:50:52:24

Leo Kouwenhoven

Definitely. We’ve put all our hopes in this. I will have to hide with shame if this is not going to help me. There’s always the possibility of a wrong assessment, but it will be a huge blunder on our part if this isn’t going to help us.

00:51:18:02

Kun Zuo

And the timescale is?

00:51:21:02

Scientist

In the range of let’s say… in twenty weeks.

00:51:25:00

Leo Kouwenhoven

Sixteen weeks, no?

00:51:27:12

Scientist

(Inaudible)

00:51:32:10

Leo Kouwenhoven

Good. Nice, very nice. Great.

00:51:38:15

Leo Kouwenhoven

Yep. Next generation of devices. Where’s the competition now?

00:51:52:14

Vincent Mourik (OS)

Even a mouse running past is more interesting than these data.

00:51:59:14

Vincent M ourik (OS)

The first two years you shoot up like a rocket in terms of motivation and building results. But then you have to take a step back. We’ve had some great results, but no major breakthrough. If we’d had more success with the Majoranas over the past two to three years, I might have considered dedicating a few more years to them. Because I was involved in the kick-off, I would have liked to have taken it to a level where we have Majoranas and can control them. But we don’t and it’s turning into a five-year plan. We’ve been working on it for three years, and it will take another few years.

00:52:46:10

Interviewer (OS)

Leo says 2016, no problem. Charlie Marcus says the same. They’re the optimists, right?

00:52:56:05

Vincent Mourik

That’s because they don’t work in the lab.

00:53:03:06

Kun Zuo

Like, OK, if you’re asking if I can do good science, I think probably yes, but if I really like this process – that’s something I really don’t know.

00:53:14:24

Interviewer (OS)

And what don’t you like about this process?

00:53:17:22

Kun Zuo

I don’t know how to say that, so like, right fundings? There’s something I don’t like, because the writing is… I’m really afraid of that part, trying to convince people that something is very useful, but maybe sometimes it’s just pure fun, for example because of the science itself. Maybe then it cannot be used in the future, but if you apply for funding you say OK, it can be very useful, but who knows?

00:54:09:03

Leo Kouwenhoven

Leo Kouwenhoven has no time for doubts. He has to keep going to find more funding for QuTech. The institute is a candidate to be chosen as Dutch National icon, which means Leo can go on trade missions with Cabinet members and the Royal Family.

00:54:26:06

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

Quantum mechanics predicts a number of things that seem impossible. For instance, one particle being in two different places at once. It means you can transport data between computers without  a cable connection or Wi-Fi or anything, without any physical connection between the computers. This is the right time give priority to creating the quantum computer. We don’t just want to work on papers anymore and make new discoveries. We want to build a quantum computer. Apart from the slides I want to make this tangible, so I’ve brought along one of these chips carrying some of these qubits. You should be able to see the details of the qubits, the quantum systems. There are eight of them. We’re actually making something.

00:55:15:24

Investor 1

Very impressive. So the goal is, building a quantum computer. When will it be ready?

00:55:26:00

Leo Kouwenhoven

It has to go out quickly, a major roll-out within ten years.

00:55:29:10

Investor 1

Are we able to train and keep the scientific talent needed for this?

00:55:36:07

Investor 2 (OS)

And bring it back?

00:55:38:00

Investor 3

What you’re doing is cutting-edge. But if other groups are working on the same thing, who will get there first? That’s what it’s about, isn’t it? Doesn’t it feel like a race?

00:55:50:22

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

Of course!

00:55:52:18

Investor 3

So the competition is tough?

00:55:54:07

Leo Kouwenhoven (OS)

Sure.

00:55:57:19

Investor 4 (OS)

The urgency is high. We have to compete now. This is the moment.

00:56:30:04

David van Woerkom

Another leak.

00:56:36:08

David van Woerkom

Yes, it’s clearly indicating a leak here.

00:56:42:02

David van Woerkom

There’s a slide here. I had put it in like this. I think you have to slide it down first, then tighten it. People tell me I start making mistakes when I work late. So maybe that’s what happened when I did this last time, as it was past midnight. It still seems to be fine this time. You’re still blowing everywhere? OK. Then I think we’re fine now.

00:57:18:22

Leo Kouwenhoven

1st September, 2010. We think you’ll be ready by 1st September, so that will be five years. All right, so five years instead of four. That’s interesting, because the success of the Majorana paper came in 2012, so that was after two years, 18 months even, early 2012. Now we’re three years on, which is quite a long period.

00:57:55:21

Leo Kouwenhoven

I did think, Vincent, all these things you’re getting into, the parrots, the snakes, you know: don’t do that, they serve no purpose, they’re all just distractions.

00:58:12:18

Vincent Mourik

I think they’re symptomatic. I had to find satisfaction in other things. That’s how I see it. My work was just getting too frustrating, so I needed other ways of release. In that sense, it was good. But I agree they’re distractions, taking up time I could have spent on my science.

00:58:35:24

Leo Kouwenhoven

It’s also a kind of test during your PhD: have you got enough motivation, drive, passion to last the distance?

00:58:47:23

Leo Kouwenhoven

You shouldn’t want that parrot, because your experiments are much more interesting. Of all the experiments you might choose, the parrot should be the least interesting. Surely? If it becomes a career and you spend your whole life involved in it, every day should be fun, ideally.

00:59:15:04

Leo Kouwenhoven

I’m curious, because I think Morello, you next ‘boss’ is not an easy character.

00:59:26:23

Vincent Mourik

He’s very different from you, which is what I wanted. I think you’re a ‘hands-off’ kind of manager. You keep your eye on the big picture and put the team to work. That’s how I see it. His team is much smaller, and he seems much more hands-on. I’m curious myself. He wants me to start as soon as possible. So… Yes. I’m really looking forward to it. I think this new project looks promising. If I find that as a postdoc I still have trouble getting out of a slump, then maybe I should draw the conclusion that I’m in the wrong business. Even though I like the work.

01:00:19:01

Awards Host

We’re happy to ask him to come forward: Leo Kouwenhoven.

01:00:23:14

Voice Over

Even though Majorana research has got stuck, QuTech’s market value keeps rising. Leo Kouwenhoven is named a Dutch national icon.

01:00:33:09

Leo Kowenhoven

This is a first for me.

01:00:35:11

Man in red tie

Very good. Thank you.

01:00:36:14

Voice Over

There is no money to go with the status, but going on trade missions may yield interesting foreign partners.

01:00:43:10

Man in suit

It’s based on the Holland Branding tulip, to emphasize this international breakthrough.

01:00:51:07

Investor

I thought: this is fantastic, and I actually felt proud of Holland.

01:00:56:16

Unknown

He’s a professor in Antwerp, I’d like to put you in touch with him.

01:001:01:10

Leo Kouwenhoven

I’ll be giving a lecture in Antwerp soon, so that might be a good occasion.

01:01:06:04

Grey-haired Man

I’ll arrange dinner for you with Johan Gielis. And I’ll tell you, your presentation, your physique, you’re like this.

01:01:17:01

Man in Striped Tie

Leo, Mate!

01:01:18:10

Leo Kouwenhoven

Yes, hi, hello. Thanks.

01:01:25:08

Leo Kouwenhoven

It’s a tulip, by the way.

01:01:26:14

Black-haired man

Nice. Real Dutch.

01:01:50:10

Voice Over

After months, the machine that can make special nanowires is still not working. There is only one of these machines in the world. No one has any experience with it. Some parts have been sent back to Finland as many as eight times. It has yet to produce a single wire.

01:02:49:22

Leo Kouwenhoven

Your majesties, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. It’s a great honour to be here in Copenhagen, where Niels Bohr once said if quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet. And Bohr’s quantum revolution gave us the concepts that govern the physical reality around us. My long-time friend Charlie explained our competitive friendship once as we share recipes, but each of us still wants to be the best cook. From now on, we cook together, and I’m looking forward to this new partnership. Thank you.

01:04:01:21

Unknown (OS)

Anyway, so, um let’s just (inaudible).

01:04:04:16

Charlie Marcus

I still, I- you know, I’m still betting and you know, I’m willing to lose this bet but Leo’s going about it one way, and I’m going about it another way, so in fact, we could both succeed by doing it different ways. I’ve got my money on one horse, he’s’ got his money on another horse, and what we’ve said to each other is: good, I don’t want to talk you into doing it the way I think is the better way, and I don’t want to get talked into doing it the way you think is the better way, but if a year from now it’s obvious that I’ve gone down a dead end street and you’re thriving and everything’s working and you’ve sold these problems, I’m just going to jump over and do it your way, and I’m going to say tell me all the things you’ve learned in the last year so I’m now not one year behind which won’t be any fun. Catch me up!

01:04:56:24

 

Yesterday half-jokedly you referred to Stockholm, the Nobel Prize, will you go there together?

01:05:06:16

Charles Marcus

I think that the odds of my going there alone without him are almost zero. He may go there alone without me, because if this Majorana stuff  all turns out to be right, it was no question that his paper was the first paper on this topic, and there’s a good chance that this will hit pay dirt. Pay dirt? I mean you know that he’ll get this prize, among eighty other prizes that you can get, OK. I don’t think there’s any other chance that I’ll go there without him. That’s just not gonna happen.

01:05:46:03

Leo Kouwenhoven

I wasn’t feeling great then, so I went to…

01:05:50:16

Doctor

I saw that. You went to see Dr. Jol.

01:05:56:16

Doctor

I would strongly advise you to take good care of yourself. With this kind of disease your own immune system plays an important part in combating any infections you might get, but also in controlling remnants of the disease, if there are any.

01:06:16:21

Voice Over

Personalized medicine is the future, tailor-made medication for everyone. But this cannot be done without a quantum computer. Leo Kouwenhoven would have liked to have one sooner. The cure that killed his cancer also destroyed his immune system. Just about every little virus or bacteria affects him.

01:06:35:22

Leo Kouwenhoven

Every day there is something in my schedule which requires energy.

01:06:42:00

Doctor

That is what you are lacking? Energy?

01:06:44:11

Leo Kouwenhoven

Yes.

01:06:45:23

Leo Kouwenhoven

It’s a recurring phenomenon. My immune system has been weakened, which means that if there’s flu around or some bacterium, I’m almost sure to catch it and fall ill. And because I don’t recover from it myself, I always need to take antibiotics. So each time it takes me three to four weeks, which adds up to a lot of time. And It’s kind of depressing. I’d rather be doing other things.

01:07:40:02

Interviewer (OS)

One of the propositions to go with your thesis is: the first quantum computer that will have a considerable impact on society will be unrelated to the Majorana particle.

01:07:52:09

Vincent Mourik

Yes. I may be wrong, and I hope I am, but I think there is still so much work to be one on the Majorana particle before we can control it, understand it, and start playing with it. By the time we get there, the present quantum computing systems will already be much further. So I think the first prototype, or the first version that will have a noticeable impact on society will come too early for the Majoranas.

01:08:39:22

Kun Zuo

I missed my fifth screw.

01:08:44:03

David van Woerkom

Last time you were here, I think I had two or three autographs of Nobel Prize winners. But in the meantime I got… Whose did I get? I got Douglas Osheroff. I got Gerard ‘t Hoot. And I got Albert Fert. Those are the latest three I got. I also have Wolfgang Ketterle, Serge Haroche, and Kosta Nosove. I can’t pronounce his name. He’s a Russian. One more copper thing and if it doesn’t come loose, I can pull it inside. I will be pissed off if it snaps. If you’re slaving away late at night or in the early hours, you think: those big names did that too. It’s good for my motivation.

01:10:18:11

Man in Blue Protective Suit (OS)

That’s it? So this will become a quantum computer?

01:10:21:17

Leo Kouwenhoven

Yes, eventually.

01:10:25:06

Man in Blue Protective Suit

But we have a beginning.

01:10:27:01

Leo Kouwenhoven

Yes, it’s a nice start. There are wires, we have wires!

01:10:31:01

Man In Blue Protective Suit

Exactly.

01:10:33:01

Man in Blue Protective Suit (OS)

There you are.

01:10:34:21

Interviewer (OS)

Leo, what exactly are we looking at?

01:10:37:19

Leo Kouwenhoven

This is a nice screen shot of the first wafer of nanowires grown by our new MBA machine. All the wires are in neat little rows here. There’s some stuff in between which has to be cleared out, so only the wires are left. But it looks fantastic, at this first attempt. The first nanowires from the machine.

01:11:34:20

Voice Over

QuTech gets a distinguished visitor: Michael Freedman, head of Station Q, Microsoft’s research institute, will give a lecture entitled how to build a quantum computer. He’s never been this optimistic before. This is due to a new way of placing nanowires on a silicon plate. It’s been named ‘insect’ because of its six ends. Scaling up has suddenly become a lot less complicated.

01:12:04:06

Michael Freedman

Other people will use it to cure cancer, find space aliens or whatever, but I just want the thing built and working.

01:12:13:08

Interviewer (OS)

Will you be disappointed if it doesn’t change the world?

01:12:16:21

Michael Freedman

No, it will change the world. Because you know there are only two worlds actually, there’s the classical world which our senses address, and then there’s the world that we’ve only known about for 100 years, since Niels Bohr basically, the quantum mechanical world, and we are in the fortunate moment in history where we are going to our intellect from one to the other. SO the idea that nothing will come of it is totally absurd.

01:12:59:06

Ronald Hanson

OK, thank you all for coming, we have something important to say, and the privilege is mine today to give you the exciting and important news. Main one, Microsoft is planning for a 10 year investment into QuTech and Microsoft is going to do something new. They will establish a fully Microsoft-owned lab, here in Delft, and who is going to lead station Q at Delft? Who do you think? There can only be one person, so that will be Leo. The Michael Freedman of Delft.

01:13:35:21

Voice Over

Leo Kouwenhoven announces that after 30 years, he will be leaving TU Delft.

01:13:43:07

Voice Over

Delft will get its own Station Q, and he will be leading it.  

01:13:53:03

Interviewer (OS)

I heard you say you had exactly the same deal as Charlie.

01:14:00:14

Leo Kouwenhoven

There was a slight difference, but then Charlie referred to… What’s his name? Haven’t I told you this already? If you want to have Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in the same movie, you have to pay them exactly the same. If one gets just one dollar more, the other will hit the roof and it’s not going to work. So Charlie brought this up and now we have exactly the same deal. That’s the only way we’ll be in the same film.

01:14:37:09

Interviewer (OS)

Is this your chance to build a quantum computer?

01:14:40:03

Leo Kouwenhoven

If I don’t take this chance… There are parties everywhere, but this is the main party. This will put me at the heart of the party, instead of having to wait outside.

01:15:03:07

Voice Over

Vincent Mourik is doing a postdoc in Sydney, where parrots live in the wild. Having left the Majoranas behind him, he’s now working on qubits and silicon chips.

01:15:15:21

Voice Over

Kun Zuo moved to industry, but returned to QuTech for one final attempt at mastering the Majorana particles. In vain: he now lives and works in Tokyo.

01:15:29:17

Leo Kouwenhoven

Signed by rector and the supervisors, with the seal of the TU Delft…

                    01:15:35:21

Voice Over

After getting his PhD, David van Woerkom left for ETH Zurich, Einstein’s university, which boasts 21 Nobel Prize laureates. But now he is back in Delft, reunited with Leo Kouwenhoven in his race for the quantum computer.

01:15:57:18

Charlie Marcus

Leo?

01:15:58:03

Leo Kouwenhoven

Yeah?

01:16:02:12

Charlie Marcus

Are you listening to me?

01:16:04:19

Woman With Ponytail

He doesn’t want to give.

01:16:07:03

Leo Kouwenhoven

I wanna focus on this next thing and I know we have to go back.

01:16:15:06

Voice Over.

Many years have now passed since the Majorana particle was discovered.

01:16:19:13

Voice Over

It’s a matter of speculation as to when the quantum computer will be ready.

01:16:25:16

Voice Over

Michael Freedman, Charles Marcus and Leo Kouwenhoven will finally have to clear the next hurdle: mastering the Majorana particle. And this time they are very close to doing so.

01:16:37:10

Leo Kouwenhoven

So, realistically speaking, Charlie, when do we have the zero qubit? What is your honest guess?

01:16:52:24

Charlie Marcus

I would say September.

01:16:53:24

Leo Kouwenhoven

OK. That’s good. So between now and September there’s… what is it… July? OK, two, three months.

01:17:01:00

Charlie Marcus

Well OK, it could be the end of September remember.

01:17:04:03

Leo Kouwenhoven

Sure.

01:17:04:15

When I say

When I say a month name, I mean the 30th of that month.

01:17:07:05

Leo Kouwenhoven

Three months, got it.

01:17:08:17

Charlie Marcus

I would say three months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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