No scientist is an island. Good researchers must communicate complex ideas clearly to their colleagues and, to really excel, they must explain their research to students and the public as well. Good communication skills help scientists to show the significance of their work and to share valuable new ideas. But stripping away the technical vocabulary and focusing on the important details that reveal the overarching picture are difficult skills to master.
To encourage graduate students to sharpen their skills at communicating research clearly and succinctly, many universities, including the University of Maryland, host Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competitions. In these events, the competitors must distill the research project that they are dedicating years of their life to into a three-minute presentation that is accessible to someone unfamiliar with the topic.
QuICS graduate student Jacob Bringewatt is one of four post-candidacy student winners in the campus-wide portion of the UMD 3MT competition. Each of these four winners received $1,000. Each will be further evaluated by the UMD Graduate School, and one will be selected to represent the university in an international 3MT competition.
Bringewatt described his research, which seeks to understand how quantum properties can benefit sensor technologies. Specifically, he looked at how to optimize the use of quantum entanglement—a phenomenon where quantum particles became intimately mixed and can act together as more than the sum of the individual particles—for improving measurement precision.
“It was a fun challenge to explain in three minutes the big ideas behind a line of research I've been pursuing for several years with a number of excellent collaborators in Alexey Gorshkov's group,” Bringewatt says. “I was especially grateful for the opportunity to participate in the campus level competition, since in addition to sharing my own research, I got to hear about interesting work being done around the entire graduate school.”
By understanding sensors at this fundamental level, future technologies might be able to operate at the limits of what is allowed by physics.
—Story by Bailey Bedford