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“I want to show that the quantum world is also for women and other minorities”

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Quantum. Future, in which an army of scientists is trying to crack the code of the tiniest particles for revolutionary, exciting applications like quantum computing, the quantum internet, and quantum sensors. Quantum Delta NL is a Dutch collaborative initiative that should give the Netherlands a leading position in implementing promising quantum technologies in society. With opportunities and risks in mind. In this section, eight key players of Quantum Delta NL. This week: Julia Cramer, Associate Professor of Quantum & Society at Leiden University.

Julia Cramer (Eindhoven, 1988) became interested in quantum at the end of her bachelor’s degree in physics. “I actually wanted to be a science journalist at the time. But then I ended up in a lab where I had to do the Bell test with light particles to look for evidence that those particles are quantum particles. At first it didn’t work. Later I was able to do the test in Stockholm, where it worked. Quantum is quite difficult to understand, especially for a bachelor, and when you see quantum effects after endlessly turning mirrors… It’s a wonderful experience. It was also a time when quantum became the promise of new technology with different kinds of computers and networks. I really wanted to be there.’

– I already wrote about science when I was a student, in all kinds of magazines. As a doctoral student, I became The face of science at KNAW and wrote blogs for Kennislink. Later I participated in Sciencebattle, a science theater performance. And now science communication has become my field of expertise.

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“We are doing research on the popularization of quantum technology. How quantum gframed is reported in the media. Sometimes it is still described as magical, untouched. Albert Einstein even talked about it Scary long distance effects. We also examine the effects of metaphors among the public and experts. Think of Schrödinger’s famous cat in a box, dead and alive at the same time. Or a tossed coin that flips heads and tails in the air.

Julia Cramer, Associate Professor of Quantum & Society at Leiden University. Photo: Bob Bronshoff.

A man’s world

“Quantum particles offer great technological possibilities, such as computing power and information security on the Internet. But it’s still pretty abstract. With science communication, I want to connect with society’s needs, what does the man at the bakery want to know about that technology? And don’t say: it’s hard, only Einstein and Bohr understand it. I was really surprised that the Quantum gala was sold out before we even started communicating. But: outside the quantum bubble there is a large group of people who never think about quantum.

He recently won an award for founding it Women in Quantum Development, an initiative to connect women in the industry. “The quantum world is still predominantly a man’s world, sometimes you are the only woman in the lab. I want to show that quantum is also a world where women and minorities can work. When I had my second child, the Quantum Growth Fund, which I had been working on for two years, was approved. I was really disappointed , that I had to interrupt, you can’t put your baby on hiatus. They took care of the important things at the time and showed me that I can join again. That you can be a good mother more often or informal caretaker and good scientist at the same time.

This article was produced in collaboration with Quantum Delta NL.

A national quantum course was recently launched to familiarize the Netherlands with quantum and prepare for a quantum future. Developed under the leadership of Jim Stolze and funded by Quantum Delta NL, the free online program reveals the intricacies of quantum mechanics, highlights the evolution of quantum technology, and explores its future implications.

On March 14, 2024, visitors to the sold-out TivoliVredenburg experienced an evening full of science, ethics and even a touch of magic: the Quantum and Society Gala. New Scientist editor-in-chief Jim Jansen introduced the evening. Together with quantum and social researcher Julia Cramer, he interviewed scientists, philosophers, innovation experts and Constantijn van Oranje about their views on our future with quantum. Watch the after-movie below or read the report.

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