Light, the universe and everything – 12 Herculean tasks for quantum cowboys and black diamond skiers Journal of Modern Optics

Journal of Modern Optics

Taylor & Francis is pleased to announce the release of a forward-looking and influential paper inspired by the fantastic contributions of the quantum optics community. The breathtaking locale of the conference, Physics of Quantum Electronics, in Snowbird, Utah and the nickname of the distinguished quantum scientist who has organised this conference for half a century, Professor Marlan Scully, known as the Quantum Cowboy, inspired the title: “Light, the universe and everything – 12 Herculean tasks for quantum cowboys and black diamond skiers”. The manuscript, published in the Journal of Modern Optics, describes some of the most tremendous scientific challenges in optical physics. In January of 2017, the participants of the conference were asked to consider the most important questions and challenges for the future of optical physics, and to formulate a set of questions representing some of the greatest aspirations in this field. This resulted in this multi-authored paper, in which many of the world’s leading experts addressed fundamental questions relating to the future of gravitational wave astronomy (the most recent Nobel prize was awarded for pioneering work in this exciting field), new quantum phases of matter such as time crystals, quantum theory in uncharted territories, and the ultimate limits to photon energies and optical resolution. The paper considers new roles that atoms could play in emerging technologies, new materials, and the future of quantum weirdness, properties such as coherence, squeezing and entanglement. 

According to Dr Suzy Lidström (Texas A&M University), the guiding motivation is that those who aspire to great science implicitly have the same guiding principle that steers powder skiers descending mountains or cowboys driving their herds across uncharted territory: “I will find a way or make one”.

Professors George Welch (Texas A&M) and Francisco Narducci (Naval Postgraduate School) served as editors, with Professor Thomas Brown (University of Rochester) as editor-in-chief of what turned out to be a very challenging and exciting project. Light, the universe and everything – 12 Herculean tasks for quantum cowboys and black diamond skiers is a publication that will be read and studied by aspiring graduate students throughout the world over the next decade.