BU Researcher Going Places with Federal Award

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BRANDON, MB – Can something be in two places at once? Dr. Sarah Plosker from Brandon University (BU) has been awarded a federal research grant to explore a long-standing theory which says yes.

Dr. Sarah Plosker, Brandon University (web)
Dr. Sarah Plosker, Brandon University

“The principle of quantum superposition suggests that subatomic particles can be literally two places at one time,” says Dr. Plosker, Department of Math and Computer Science. “I will examine the mathematics on which this theory is based. A better understanding of quantum information can lead to new technology, including faster computers.”

Currently, computers use “bits” of information that can be either 0 or 1. Quantum-information is based on “qubits” that can be both 0 and 1 simultaneously. Utilizing this so-called superposition, a quantum computer would process information trillions of times faster than today’s machines. Theoretically, superposition would allow objects to be beamed from one place to another without physically crossing the distance – teleportation in sci-fi shows.

“The transistor and the laser are built upon theories of quantum information,” says Dr. Plosker, “and those breakthroughs led to culture-shifting devices including computers and iPhones. My goal is to advance our working knowledge in this exciting field.”

Dr. Plosker has received a $60,000 Discovery Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to help fund her five year study into the mathematical foundations for physical realizations in quantum mechanics. This summer, she will travel to China and South Korea to collaborate with scientists.

“The NSERC grant is a great acknowledgement of Dr. Plosker’s industry-leading work,” says Dr. Andrew Egan, BU Dean of Science, “and an excellent example of Brandon University’s cutting-edge research initiatives. This award at this stage of her career speaks to enormous potential.”

Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship; educating students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.


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