Dr Anthony Laing, Associate Professor in Quantum Engineering Technologies
I lead a group that develops new ways of simulating and modelling quantum mechanical objects like molecules. Advances that we make in developing quantum simulators can have dramatically positive consequences for wider society, and we have a strong vision for a new class of quantum simulators using photonic chips.
Most of my peers were likely on a trajectory consistent with an academic career from an early age. After leaving my job in IT, I arrived in Bristol aged 25, without A-levels, and with no formal training in science. I enrolled onto Bristol’s preliminary year in physics course, then progressed to a degree in Astrophysics, before choosing a final year project in theoretical quantum information science. All though my undergraduate studies, until I began my PhD, I continued to work in industry, working on building data analysis tools. Juggling this with studying was sometimes hard, but this wider skill set was invaluable in becoming a tenured academic.
One of the things I enjoy most about working in the School of Physics is observing and being among the many different and interconnected groups of people; all at different stages of life, ambition and career; from undergraduate students, to research scientists, to emeritus professors. It is not possible to fully control or even completely understand the full ecosystem of people in Physics, which is generally true of anything that is both alive and vibrant.