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QECDT student heads to space (kind of!)

Sam Pallister (centre) with his team at the Alpbach Summer SchoolFFG/Summer School Alpbach/MA Jakob

11 December 2015

QECDT Student Sam Pallister attended the 2015 Alpbach Summer School, held in the beautiful Austrian Tyrol. This year’s meeting, focused on quantum and fundamental physics in space.

As part of the meeting Sam worked in agroup of students who were working on an experiment which was designed to examine the effect of gravity on quantum systems. The basis of the experiment is a single-photon interferometer, distributed between an Earth orbiter and a ground station. The photons are split in a superposition to explore how gravity acts on them, as compared to a classical system, aiming at confirming or refuting the hypothesis that there is a fundamental effect of gravity on quantum systems. This innovative mission aimed to study how satellite missions could help develop and enrich quantum physics research, and see how future satellite missions could benefit from quantum physics in general. 

On the last day of this 10-day learning experience, each team presented their mission design to an expert review panel chaired by Dr. Roger Bonnet of the International Space Science Institute, as well as their fellow students, tutors, and lecturers. Dr. Bonnet was very impressed by the quality of the space mission designs the students presented: 'The jury was very impressed and had the feeling that a new scientific community had risen above the horizon - a community that will increase the number of space users and that will benefit from the high potential of applications in this new field, both in industry and in science. 

Sam's team won best techical case at the event and were applauded for their ability to get acquainted with this topic in just a few days.



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