Shane de Silva
Where did you do your last degree and what subject was it in?
My integrated masters in Physics with Theoretical Astrophysics was completed at the University of Nottingham.
What was your final year or Masters project?
My final year project was titled ‘How Unique is the Local Group?’. This consisted of the reduction of images taken with one of the ESO 1.5m telescopes based in La silly, Chile. The images were of a nearby galaxy group and are going to be used to compare the amount of dwarf galaxies within this group to the number in our own group (the Local Group).
Why did you choose quantum engineering ?
As I read more and more around the subject the possible applications were of real interest to me. After taking a couple quantum modules for my undergraduate degree I was left with a knowledge of the weird and counter-intuitive aspects that this side of physics displays. However, I was never introduced to the ways that we could exploit these phenomena to our advantage. After reading about the wide array of modern applications that quantum theory has the potential to influence, I realised that quantum systems engineering would be a valuable and exciting field to get in to.
What are your research interests?
At this stage it is too early to state my research interests. But the modules I am most looking forward to taking are post-quantum cryptography, quantum information, and quantum engineering labs.
Why did you decided to do a PhD?
My main reasons for pursuing a PhD is that I love learning. I felt that a traditional job in industry would not provide the intellectual stimulation that a research project provides. I also enjoyed dedicating myself to one goal during my masters project which I know will carry through into my future PhD project.
What did you choose the CDT route?
Because of my background in theoretical astrophysics I had not had the option to choose all of the quantum modules as an undergraduate. Therefore, although I had decided that QSE was the field I wanted to get into, I do not yet know the specific aspect that I wish to pursue. As a result, the CDT gives me the perfect opportunity to spend 6 months learning about all that quantum theory and its applications has to offer. After which, I can make a more informed decision about which topic I would like to dedicate 3 years of my life too (if not more).
Firstly, Imperial ranks high in not only national rankings, but also world rankings as a top research institute. Secondly, it was one of a handful of universities to offer this very unique CDT. Lastly, the chance to live in London which has a huge variety of experiences to offer.
What you would like to do after your PhD?
Depending on how much I enjoy my research topic, after my PhD I could see myself continuing into academia. Failing that, I would hopefully find a company that is actively pursuing quantum technologies. One of the many great advantages to doing this CDT is the industrial partner for your project. This will give me a strong contact within a industry developing a particular aspect of quantum technology. Therefore, if I wish to work for that company I would have already had effectively 3+ years experience with them.
What are your hobbies and other interests?
My two main hobbies are keeping fit and music. I try to go to the gym/run/rock climb at least 3 times a week. With music, I currently have my grade 7 in guitar and will hopefully take my grade 8 shortly. I am also a singer/songwriter and gig at various venues around London (when I have time!).