Leading quantum physicist keen to “meet grand challenges” as new Sydney Nano director

Cosmos Magazine


Cosmos is a quarterly science magazine. We aim to inspire curiosity in ‘The Science of Everything’ and make the world of science accessible to everyone.

By Cosmos

Professor Stephen Bartlett, a theoretical quantum physicist and a Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Engineered Quantum Systems will take up a new role as Director of the University of Sydney Nano Institute.

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Bartlett, one of the world’s most respected quantum theorists, is also the editor of American Physics Society journal PRX Quantum.

Bartlett has served as the Associate Dean (Research) of the Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney and has decades of experience as one of the world’s leading quantum physicists. He obtained his PhD in physics from the University of Toronto.

“I’m very excited about this role,” Bartlett tells Cosmos. “I’m stepping up as director, but I’ve been part of the Institute for a long time since its inception.” Bartlett explains that the Nano Institute’s multidisciplinary approach is innovative in its use of science and discovery “to make a big difference in the world and meet grand challenges.”

“Why the nanoscale?” Bartlett asks. “What’s special about nanometres and nanoseconds is that this is the length and time scale of individual atoms and their interactions. The idea that you can, as a scientist or engineer, go in there and manipulate things on that scale, build new technologies and new capabilities is really going to be transformational for technology going forward.”

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Bartlett notes that cutting edge technology, such as quantum computing, relies on an understanding of the physics of the nanoscale.

“But also in terms of health. That scale is relevant for delivering drugs, new medicines, new types of therapies. Nanorobots being able to interact with cellular processes and change the way that cancer comes about, or how a drug interacts with a particular cell. Those types of questions of how things occur at that nanoscale is the future of science, engineering, discovery and of technology.”

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