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Aaron D. O'Connell

  • American physicist
  • Born March 5, 1981

Aaron Douglas O'Connell (born March 5, 1981, in Allentown, Pennsylvania) is an American experimental quantum physicist. While working under Andrew N. Cleland and John M. Martinis at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he created the world's first quantum machine. In particular, he was able to transfer the quantum state of a superconducting quantum bit, a device used in quantum computation, to the motional state of a macroscopic mechanical resonator. His measurements of the quantum machine constitute the first direct observations of quantized behavior in the motion of a visible object and led the journal Science to honor his work as the "Breakthrough of the Year" of 2010.O'Connell spoke on the subject at TED2011 in Long Beach, California.


We talk about quantum weirdness and things being in two places at once, but it all involves atoms and molecules, stuff we don't normally interact with.




The qubit acts as a bridge between the microscopic and the macroscopic worlds.




If you go into any physics lab, everybody is depressed and feels isolated. We don't get any feedback that anybody cares about what we're doing.




Your connections to all the things around you literally define who you are.




Scientists and academics in particular focus on detail and the minutiae. When they talk to each other, they usually don't focus on the broad ideas; they don't focus on social interconnectedness. They focus on the task that they're doing.




If I realize that actually there's quantum mechanics happening around us all the time in some macroscopic, interconnected way, then that doesn't change my perception of it, that doesn't change my interaction with it; it just changes how I view my interaction.



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