Kay Malmstrom Lecture in Physics

Malstrom lecture banner (low-res), Building a Quantum Computer
John Martinis, John Martinis, PhD, professor of physics at University of California, Santa Barbara
John Martinis PhD

Building a Quantum Computer

The 2023 Malmstrom Lecture was held on October 26 with guest lecturer John Martinis PhD, professor of physics at University of California, Santa Barbara.

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Nature allows the storage and manipulation of data in new and powerful ways using quantum mechanics.

In his lecture, Martinis will explain the basic concepts behind the exponential power of this technology and how to build a quantum computer using superconductors. Additionally, he will show experimental data on a “quantum supremacy” experiment with 53 qubits using the Sycamore processor.

The Sycamore processor takes about 200 seconds to run a quantum circuit a million times—the equivalent task for a state-of-the-art classical supercomputer would take thousands of years.

Finally, Martinis will explain some of the future uses of quantum algorithms and what may be in store for the field in the next 10 years.

John Martinis PhD, professor of physics at University of California, Santa Barbara

John Martinis pioneered experiments in superconducting qubits in the mid 1980s for his PhD thesis. During his career, Martinis has worked on a variety of low temperature device physics, and now primarily focuses on quantum computation since the late 1990s. In 2014, he was awarded the Fritz London Memorial Prize in Low Temperature Physics for his work.

From 2014 to 2020, Martinis worked at Google to build a useful quantum computer, culminating in a quantum supremacy experiment in 2019. Then, in 2021, he was awarded the John Stewart Bell Prize.

About the Malmstrom Lectures in Physics

The Kay Malmstrom Lecture in Physics, part of the Emma K. and Carl R. N. Malstrom Chair in Physics, is an annual symposium on contemporary issues and research in physics. Through this generous gift, Carl R. N. Malmstrom ’36 gives Hamline students access to the outstanding scientific minds of our time. Even after his death in 2010, Carl’s legacy of supporting Hamline students continues to fund collaborative research opportunities, scholarships, and this lecture.

Past lectures

2022 “Cosmic Messengers from Cosmic Accelerators: Theories and Mysteries of ‘Cosmic Ray’ Proton Particles,” Ellen Gould Zweibel PhD, William L. Kraushaar Professor of Astronomy and Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2021 “An Evening on Dark Matter Particles,” Elena Aprile PhD, Columbia University
2020 “Microscopy in Motion: Understanding How Crystals Grow Through Electron Microscopy Movies,” Frances M. Ross PhD, Columbia University
2019 "A Random Walk through Physics to the Nobel Prize," Dr. J. Michael Kosterlitz, 2016 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics for work on the Kosterlitz-Thouless transition
2018 "Mixed-Dimensional van der Waals Heterostructures for Electronic and Energy Applications," Dr. Mark C. Hersam, Northwestern University
2017 "What Can We Do with a Quantum Liquid?" Dr. Anthony J. Leggett, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003 Nobel Laureate for work on superfluidity
2016 "Soft Electronics for the Human Body," Dr. John A. Rogers, Northwestern University
2015 "More Than Moore: When Electronics Drive off the Roadmap," Dr. Mark A. Reed, Yale University
2014 "Relativity, Quantum Physics, and Graphene," Philip Kim, Harvard University
2013 "Innovating Your Own Future," Roger H. Appeldorn, 3M
2012 "When Freezing Cold is Not Cold Enough: New Forms of Matter Close to Absolute Zero Temperature," Dr. Wolfgang Ketterle, MIT, 2001 Nobel Laureate for research on Bose-Einstein condensation
2011 "Exploring the Warped Side of the Universe," Dr. Nergis Malvalvala, MIT (spring)
2011 "E=mc^2: Opening Windows on the World," Dr. Young-Kee Kim, University of Chicago (fall)
2010 "Neutrino Astronomy at the South Pole," Dr. Jordan Goodman, University of Maryland
2009 Superposition, Entanglement, and Raising Schrödinger’s Cat" Dr. David Wineland, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2012 Nobel Laureate for developing research methods for measuring and manipulating individual quantum systems
2008 "How to Make Atoms Sing and Molecules Dance-Using Fast Light Pulses to Observe and Control Nature," Dr. Margaret Murname, University of Colorado at Boulder
2007 "Modern Cosmology & Superstring Theory: Can They Co-Exist?" Dr. Sylvester James Gates, Jr., University of Maryland
2006 "Stopping Time," Dr. Eric Mazur, Harvard University

Malstrom Lecture, 2005 Dr. Ramon Lopez, Florida Institute of Technology

2004 "Stone Cold Science," Dr. Eric Cornell, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2001 Nobel Laureate for collaborative work involving Bose-Einstein Condensate.
2003 "Our Preposterous Universe," Dr. Sean Carroll, California Institute of Technology
2002 "Sunlight and Ice Crystals in the Skies of Antarctica," Dr. Robert Greenler, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
2001 "The Physics of Star Trek," Dr. Lawrence Krauss, Case Western Reserve University
2000 "Almost Absolute Zero: The Story of Laser Cooling and Trapping," Dr. William D. Phillips, National Institute of Standards and Technology. 1997 Nobel Laureate for collaborative work involving the cooling and trapping of atoms with lasers.
1999 "Space Astronomy in the 21st Century," Dr. John C. Mather, Nasa Goddard Lab for Astronomy and Solar Physics. 2006 Nobel Laureate for collaborative discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation.
1998 "Voodoo Science," Dr. Robert Park, University of Maryland, author of the controversial weekly commentary, What's New, on science policy issues.
1997 "Quark: The Big And Small Of It," Dr. Melissa Franklin. Harvard University, The Top Quark.
1996 "So Many Galaxies... So Little Time," Dr. Margaret Geller Harvard University, Astronomer, recipient the MacArthur Fellowship
1995 "The Quark And The Jaguar," Dr. Murray Gell-Mann, California Institute of Technology, 1969 Nobel Laureate for classifying the elementary particles.
1994 "Science And The Human Condition," Dr. Daniel Kleppner MIT, quantum optics, and experimental atomic physics.
1993 "Rumors of Perfection: New Ideas About Cosmic Evolution," Timothy Ferris, University of California-Berkeley, Science writer and essayist, wrote and narrated the the PBS special "The Creation of the Universe."
1992 "The Cosmic Quark," Dr. Leon Lederman, University of Chicago, 1988 Nobel Laureate for collaborative work that led to development of a new tool for studying the weak nuclear force.
1991 (Dedication of Robbins Science Building) Dr. Arno A. Penzias, Bell Labs, 1978 Nobel Laureate with Robert K. Wilson for discovering the cosmic background radiation.