Writing to a single atom; when did shyness and PMT become mental illnesses; and more‏

Bulletins, Media bulletins

Today Australian engineers reveal in Nature how they have written information to a single electron opening the way to a quantum computer based on silicon.

Quantum computers promise to solve complex problems that are currently impossible on even the world’s largest supercomputers if only we could make one. Many esoteric approaches have been tried.

Researchers at UNSW said, “We can do this using silicon – and computer makers already know how to use that.

See below for more details.

Also in this bulletin:

Today: Single-atom writer a landmark for quantum computing

A research team led by engineers from the University of New South Wales report the creation of the first working quantum bit based on a single atom in silicon, opening the way to ultra-powerful quantum computers of the future.

The team has a paper published today in Nature, describing how it was able to both read and write information using the spin, or magnetic orientation, of an electron bound to a single phosphorus atom embedded in a silicon chip.

The engineers say the research is a key advance towards realising a silicon quantum computer based on single atoms.

There are images and a video accompanying this release.

For the full release, including images, contact details and a backgrounder, go to: http://www.scienceinpublic.com.au/media-releases/atomwriter

Monday: When did shyness, internet addiction, PMT and eccentricity become mental illnesses?

If you believe the figures, there’s a worldwide epidemic of mental illness.

The meteoric rise in mental illness is due, in part, to three factors: increased willingness to diagnose mental illness, a relaxation of diagnostic criteria and the invention of new mental diseases, some of which Julian Savulescu says are simply part of normal human variation.

Julian will explore these topics in the Menzies Scholars Lecture, an inaugural public forum in Melbourne with the title ‘the ethics of diagnosis and treatment’.

Julian is the 1994 Menzies scholar in medicine and Professor of Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford.  He will discuss over-diagnosis and/or overtreatment of conditions as diverse as ADHD, premenstrual syndromes, and ‘poor impulse control’ in toddlers during the forum.

Julian is available for a small number of media interviews on Thursday 20, Friday 21 or Monday 24 September. To arrange interviews, contact Niall Byrne, 0417 131 977. We will also be capturing audio and video from the lecture.

Julian will give the Menzies Scholars Lecture at the Menzies Foundation in East Melbourne on Monday at 4pm.

The full invitation is online here: http://menziesfoundation.org.au/pdf/2012_Savulescu_invitn.pdf

There is more information on Julian here: http://www.neuroethics.ox.ac.uk/our_members/julian_savulescu

Contact Pam Shearman to secure a place: menzies@vicnet.net.au, 03 9419 5699.

October: Annual Prime Minister’s Prize for Science to be announced in Canberra

The Prime Minister will announce the winners of the 2012 Prime Minister’s Science prize in the Great Hall of Parliament House, Canberra, with an the embargo of 5pm on Wednesday 31 October.

We’re helping with the media program for the prizes, and we’ll have profiles, photos and HD footage available after the ceremony.

There are five prizes:

  • The $300,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science and
  • The $50,000 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year
  • The $50,000 Science Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the Year
  • The $50,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence for Science Teaching in Primary Schools
  • The $50,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence for Science Teaching in Secondary Schools.

To find out more about the prizes and past recipients click here.

If you need to know who’s winning this year drop me a line. We welcome the opportunity to brief longer lead-time publications.