Rene – Hi! Welcome to QuBites, your bite-sized pieces of quantum computing. My name is Rene from Valorem Reply and today we're going to talk about innovative quantum education and how to get children and teenagers excited for the world of quantum computing. And for this, I'm very honored to have not one but actually two special expert guests today Marlen Gaus and Franz Sitzmann. Hi Marlen and Hi Franz! How are you today?
Marlen – Hi Rene, nice to be here.
Franz - Hi nice to see you again.
Rene – Awesome, well can you tell us both a little bit about your background and about yourself?
Marlen – Yeah, I studied musicology for five years. I've been working as a project manager for the non-profit organization based on Berlin. I've always been interested in interdisciplinary topics to make it approachable for society and especially for kids. Right now, we're working on the project quantum 101.
Franz – Exactly, quantum technology is a big topic for us right now I’m very curious and loved to learn new things as a student of broken robots and microcontrollers and I still like it a lot and tinkering and making. We are showing students that learning can be fun and there's a lot of interesting stuff out there. My favorite topics are robotics, artificial intelligence and now quantum technology. Thanks to our colleague Julia, who started the project with us.
Rene - All right! Well, let's dive into today's topics. You already hinted that that you're working at the Junge Tüftler gGmb. Well, we can say it right in German which is a fantastic name by the way. Can you tell us a little bit more of what you're doing at Junge Tüftler which is this non-profit and how you help with innovative education for STEM discipline, in particular for young people? So, describe us a little bit about the work you have done in the past and then maybe you can share some highlights.
Marlen - So our goal at Junge Tüftler is to give people playful and easy to understand access to the digital world. So we develop workshops, learning experiences for kids and adults which they build, for example, VR worlds, game apps, program robots and computer bots. They also learn about AI and algorithms to work with fab lab tools like laser cutters or 3d printers. So, this way we enable them to create and shape the world. So the connection of analog and digital tools are crucial for our work.
Rene – Gotcha.
Franz - So the connection of analog and digital parts is crucial for our collectively creative and my personal highlight was building the first-time shortcuts. We are using a micro-controller called the makey makey, which communicates with the computer as a keyboard, but the special part is there are now meteor keys attached. You can build them yourself by building circuits with everyday objects like an apple for example. And so you create not only your own game but a little bit programming, but you can also create your own controller for it.
Rene – Gotcha. Well, that's some pretty impressive stuff. Like you said, you also have a background in like making and creating things and now enabling those for young and students but also in general everyone that's interested. I love that. That's amazing and actually a few months ago, you came to my place, and you interviewed me as part of this new educational series related to quantum computing, which is, I think called quantum 101. Can you tell us a little bit about that format, what you're currently doing there and what are the next steps? When can we expect it to be out?
Franz - With our project quantum 101, we want to break down the entrance barriers for people especially young people to become interested in phantom technologies. So, we ask ourselves how you can break topic down for those who might have never heard of quantum technologies before. We created entertaining playful videos that explain some of the basic principles like superposition, entanglement or quantum computing.
Marlen - We also interviewed experts like you who talk about the different applications of quantum technology. For us it was very important to showcase that there are so many different people from a lot of different backgrounds working on this and at younger tiftner, we are strong believers in learning by doing. So, we are also developing experimental kits that let you experience some of the phenomena enhanced all playful way and may be noteworthy is that the project is funded by the German ministry of educational research, and this was made through a quantum active measure, which is part of the German government's high-tech strategy. So that the German or the German speaking regions all over Europe are represented.
Franz - Now we collected a lot of material and now our task is to bring it all down and together to interesting website with the interviews. That's what we are right now finalizing to present it to you in January.
Marlen - This is our goal and fingers crossed that we could get through all the interesting materials for the people and then we can use it for, I don't know, further training for teachers for example, or going to schools and everyone can also watch it at home or play around with our incremental kits. It's all about the outreach, so that the society and the people and especially kids and the youth is aware of this topic.
Rene - This is this is actually fantastic because what you're also going to do is with these videos you're going to share this on various social media channels as well, right, go where the young folks are basically and like going to the places where you can find young people that are interested in various topics and I love that approach and I love it especially that it's also partly funded because it's very important right, that we think about the next generation here for STEM education. But like in this particular case for quantum education because it's still this kind of niche topic and you have very specialized folks right and so that brings me to my next question. From your experience, diving into the quantum computing space for over months and talking with true quantum computing experts, what do you think are the needed skills to be working in the quantum computing field like? Is it a PhD in physics or could it also be the different backgrounds and most importantly how can we increase diversity because this is a very important part to build the best solutions we need to have diverse inputs for sure. So can you tell us a little bit about it?
Franz - Yeah to be honest, if you look for this topic you will find a lot of physicists. It's their topic if you look at the beginning of this topic. But if you look closely, we interviewed a lot of different people like from economy, Bio, Medical science. There are a lot of different people and the teams that are working on these topics are always very diverse. It's very interdisciplinary. A lot of different people from different backgrounds are working on this.
Marlen - I think people are suitable for the quantum world when they are creative open-minded and thinking out of the box because the topics are not defined yet. So, you can make your expression and economical use cases. You can make your expression in arts; you can make your expressions in medicine. This is a quite open topic, and this is the surprising thing about it. So, my first though there about the topic was, oh god, okay this is so nerdy but I think the word from the work from the most experts world was so creative and so free and this is was very inspiring for me to get to know those people and the topic.
Franz - We think everyone can join if you are just interested.
Rene - I like what you're saying there. It's particularly interesting. It's like, you know, as long as you have the passion, as long as you're interested in these topics, you can learn a lot of things. Even the most complex things, if you have the passion, if you have a fire for it, you can learn it. And like you were saying, right it's a lot of interdisciplinary work already and I think it's growing more and more. And you know, in previous episodes I've been talking with other guests, and they also mentioned quite a few times, this kind of translator role. Basically, people that understand the quantum topic but also can translate it for normal people basically, you know, that everyone can approach it and what you're doing is such important because you are the translator for the young folks. You're the translators for the next generation and bringing those into the quantum computing field. So, this is amazing and well we're already at the end of the show unfortunately I could talk much longer with both of you. But again, like I was saying, it's such an important work you're doing, and I cannot thank you enough for doing this. Thank you so much Marlene and Franz for joining us today and sharing your insights. That was very much appreciated.
Marlen - Thank you so much Rene.
Franz - Thank you very much.
Rene - Thanks everyone for joining us for yet another episodes of QuBites, your bite-sized pieces of quantum computing. Watch our blog, follow our social media channels to hear all about the next episodes and of course, you can find all the previous episodes of QuBites on our website. Until then take care and see you soon! bye-bye.