Professor Alexey Kavokin, Head of the Spin Optics Laboratory at St Petersburg University, has become a laureate of the Headliner Award in the category of Science and Education. The annual prestigious award recognises outstanding achievements in culture, science, business, sports and social life. St Petersburg University’s physicist received the award for contributing to developing quantum computing using boson condensates of liquid light.

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You can learn more about the developments of Alexey Kavokin and his colleagues from the lecture on the website of the award.

Alexey Kavokin and his colleagues at the Spin Optics Laboratory focus primarily on boson condensates of liquid light to develop qubits, or quantum bits, i.e. basic units of quantum information. These technologies contribute significantly to developing quantum computing. Realisation of qubits is achieved by using a laser exposure method on the artificial semiconducting structures, i.e. microresonators. This platform for quantum computing offers many advantages over what has been developed by Google or IBM. This quantum computer will be able to work at room temperature, while Google quantum computer operates within the cryogenic temperature range.

Fundamental science is like the highest achievements in sports. It is also about excitement, competition, and international competitive struggle. Yet this sport has no spectaculars. No one, except for few experts, knows about what we have achieved. I am very grateful to the Headliner Award for attracting public attention to quantum physics.

Professor Alexey Kavokin

‘I would like to cite Winston Churchill’s words, although they were about other people and in another situation: «Never was so much owed by so many to so few». The destiny of the whole of mankind is in the hands of a few scientists. Today, we are witnessing how rapidly new things are emerging in our life, including the Internet, mobile phones, computers, and COVID‑19 vaccine to name but a few. This is all done by incredibly few people. Yet nobody knows even a bit about them,’ said Alexey Kavokin during the award ceremony.

The annual Russian Headliner Award was established in 2017. It honours ordinary people who do extraordinary things. They save our lives; discover something new; break records; are involved in providing charity; initiate cultural and educational projects; and open innovative, ecologically friendly and socially responsible campaigns.

In 2018, the Headliner Award went to Andrey Pavlenko (9 May 1978 — 5 January 2020) in the category of Public Work and Social Projects. He was the Head of the Centre for Oncology at the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies at St Petersburg University. For several years, he had been fighting stomach cancer and running a blog to communicate with people who also had cancer. In 2020, the experts of the Awards selected Kseniia Suvorova. She graduated from the University and created the platform MadMed.Media.