Nobel Laureates visit the Centre for Quantum Technologies


Two Nobel Laureates in Physics delivered talks and held scientific discussions at the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at NUS in January. The laureates were in Singapore to participate in the Global Young Scientists Summit (GYSS) organised by the National Research Foundation (NRF).


Prof Gerard t’ HOOFT from Utrecht University in the Netherlands spoke on 21 January about “The role of fermions in magnetic monopoles and other solitons.” He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1999 "for elucidating the quantum structure of electroweak interactions in physics".


Sir Anthony LEGGETT from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign delivered a lecture on 22 January titled “The mean-field approach to superconductivity: Is it adequate for quantum-information purposes?”. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2003 "for pioneering contributions to the theory of superconductors and superfluids".


Prof ‘t Hooft’s talk concluded a three-day workshop at CQT organised by MajuLab, an International Joint Research Unit of the French research organisation CNRS with the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and NUS. “The workshop was dedicated to research in SU(N) gauge fields and cold atoms, gathering experts in the field,” says Prof Christian MINIATURA, Director of the MajuLab. “Prof ’t Hooft explained why the magnetic monopole predicted in Grand Unified Theories is a violent catalyst for proton decay.”


CQT Principal Investigator KWEK Leong Chuan, who has known Prof ‘t Hooft for years through particle physics conferences, said, “Nowadays, we can target an ultracold atomic cloud with lasers to create artificial gauge fields that mimic monopoles, including the 't Hooft-Polyakov monopole. It was refreshing for people working in quantum information to listen to these experts in particle physics.”


Sir Leggett has visited CQT many times before, having previously been a member of the Centre’s Governing Board. As well as giving a talk to a large audience, he met some of the Centre’s researchers for small group discussions.


CQT Research Fellow Paul CONDYLIS was one of the scientists to meet him. “I gave a brief overview of my research in atomtronics, a relatively new field which aims to use ultracold atoms flowing in circuits, much like electrons flow in electronic circuits. Talking to Anthony was a great experience. He gave me some pointers on interesting future directions for the project,” he said.


Ph.D. student Max SEAH acted as a liaison officer for Sir Leggett and other speakers during the GYSS. He said, "As a liaison officer I got to know Prof Leggett, as well as several of the other Nobel Laureates on a personal level and to understand their vast contributions to science. I found the speakers’ stories as young researchers to be very inspiring."


CQT regularly hosts talks by local and visiting speakers. Find details of upcoming events at



Nobel Laureate Prof Gerard t’ Hooft spoke on 21 January to a full house at the Centre for Quantum Technologies


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Nobel Laureate Sir Anthony Leggett (far right) met with CQT researchers for small group discussions and delivered a talk