Chapter 4: Academic Endgame

HIGH SCORE by Kevin Simpson, on Flickr

Well, this is itβ€”academic endgame. I am now a faculty member at the University of Technology Sydney. It’s been quite a journey, but it wasn’t mine aloneβ€”and I couldn’t have done it by myself. I met Lindsay at the university bar and it was love at first sightβ€”and I thought she was all right, too πŸ˜›.

Chapter 1 found us in Waterloo, Ontario where we were students at the University of Waterloo. We moved into our first home and had our first two children. In any other profession, we would have been settled down by then. But I was still an academic baby. After finishing my PhD, it was time to embrace the nomadic lifestyle of academia, pack up the family and head west.

Chapter 2 was our adventure into the deserts of south-western USA. We were skeptical at firstβ€”having watched a bit too much Breaking Badβ€”but Albuquerque quickly grew on us. The people and culture were quite unique to North America as was the landscape. The sunsets, for example, are unparalleled.

We had our third child in Albuquerque and it was every bit as clinical and expensive as you would expect from the American healthcare system. In any case, he is happy and healthy as we haven’t told him him who his president is yet. It was also here where the idea for Quantum Physics for Babies was conceived.

In Albuquerque, I worked as a Postdoc at the Center for Quantum Information and Control with the eminent and ever-quirky Carl Caves. Carl is the most honest and generous physicist I have ever met. I hope to work with him again soon.

All-in-all, we loved our time in Albuquerque and it was very sad for all of us that we had to move on.

Chapter 3 brought us down under, to the land of Oz. We moved in to a closet in the inner-city suburbs of Sydney. Sydney is an unplanned transportation disaster in one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world which are surrounded by white and golden sandy beaches. In Australia, beach is life.

While we weren’t at the beach, I was a postdoc at the University of Sydney, which is a hotspot for hands-on theory and experiment in quantum computing. One of things that I hadn’t appreciated about Sydney was its position as a hub for quantum information scientists visiting Australia. International travelers often come through Sydney regardless of their Australian destination. Consequently, I met many new people in the field here. This was extremely beneficial, as these connections led to my current position.

Chapter 4 started with bang: new year, new baby, new home and a new jobβ€”all in the span of a few weeks!

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Welcome to the family Evan!

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We’re all settled down now at home and I am not sure if I’ll ever be settled in my new academic home at the Centre for Quantum Software and Information at the University of Technology Sydney.

I’ve never really celebrated the other “milestones” in the academic progressionβ€”I didn’t even collect my PhD diploma, let alone frame it. I’ve always felt like there was more to do. And, although a tenured faculty position can be seen as the endgame, it is really just the beginning. There is just so much left to doβ€”not only in my own specialization, but scientific research itself needs fixing!

Cover image credit: HIGH SCORE by Kevin Simpson, on Flickr.

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