Hundreds of school students got a rare peek into what life as a scientist could be like, as Professor Michelle Simmons opened the doors of the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology ahead of National Science Week.
When Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons became Australian of the Year 2018, her acceptance speech touched on themes that resonated with many school students and teachers: her encouragement of all young people to pursue what they love, to set their sights high, to tackle the hardest challenges in life and to be the creators – not just the users – of technology.
Following the ceremony – and numerous subsequent speech invites from schools across Australia – Professor Simmons and her team decided to open the doors of the Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology for one full day, to offer students the opportunity to see the team’s groundbreaking research in action – a first in the centre’s history.
Professor Simmons said the goal was to open the students’ minds to the possibilities a career in STEM offers.
“When I was younger, I got to see a fabrication plant in the US, and observed how they make semi-conductor chips. It completely opened my mind to the world of possibility that was out there. I remember thinking that all children should see this.
“So here we are in Australia, we’ve got this great facility of building chips in-house, so I’m hoping we opened the students’ eyes to what’s out there, to all the kind of jobs they can have, and just get them excited by science.”