Mark Hillery and his love of quantum physics, jazz and literature

Added by: S. Ščepán, 3.9.2019, 449 visit

He appears very modest, at times even defenceless, as if the excitement around him had torn him from his inner world, where he often wandered in the field of theoretical quantum optics and quantum information theory. He has published more than 200 publications and has over 15,000 citations. Professor Mark Hillery is the newest holder of the International Prize of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAS) which was presented to him on Tuesday 3 September at the Mirrored hall (Zrkadlova sála) of the primatial palace in Bratislava by SAS President Prof. Pavol Šajgalík.

At the ceremony, the laureate of the prestigious SAS award was presented by vice-chairman for Scientific Section 1, RNDr. Pavol Siman, PhD. He particularly emphasized his great influence and contribution to the development of physical science in Slovakia. Thanks in particular to long-term cooperation with the SAS Institute of Physics, which germinated and developed on the basis of an acquaintance with prof. Vladimír Bužek. Their cooperation enabled the most significant scientific results of the Slovak scientist. Together they also invented the first multi-user quantum cryptographic protocol which allows quantum secret sharing, but also a way to optimally clone quantum bits. "Prof. Mark Hillery was not only a witness but also an active participant in our ongoing, ‘Don Quichote – esque’ struggle for quality science in Slovakia,” wrote prof. Vladimír Bužek. “They are working together on a current topic called quantum informatics. Today, quantum technologies are a new breakthrough in global technological development, " said Prof. Pavol Šajgalík on the award.

Prof. Mark Hillery studied from 1975 to 1980 at the University of California in Berkeley. He briefly worked at the Optical Science Center at the University of Arizona and until 1984 at the Institute of Modern Optics at the University of New Mexico. In 1985 he joined the Hunter College of the City University in New York, where he was awarded the title of professor in September 1993. Per Prof. Hillery, he has been cooperating with the SAS Institute of Physics since 1993. Pavol Šajgalík explained that as a result more than 50 publications have been produced, which altogether have more than 7000 citations.

At the beginning of his lecture in Bratislava, Prof. Mark Hillery expressed thanks for the award, but especially for his long-term enriching cooperation with Slovak scientists. He went briefly through the history of transistors into the era of computers and quantum optics, or quantum informatics. He suggested that quantum computers could be used, for example, to design new drugs or materials where simulations are very complex. He is of the opinion that this could be done much faster with quantum computers.

The scientist who loves literature, jazz and Slovak folk art remained modest even after the ceremony, perhaps a little more relaxed among fellow scientists than when receiving the International SAS Award, by which he was honoured by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic, Oľga Nachtmanová, as well as top representatives of our universities and scientific institutions, including the SAS Assembly and the Learned Society. (SPN). Photo: Andrea Veselá


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Prof. Mark Hillery
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Odovzdávanie Medzinárodnej ceny SAV
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Laureát v spoločnosti členov Predsedníctva SAV a námestníka primátora Bratislavy Ing. Juraja Káčera.
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Auditórium na začiatku slávnosti.
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Chvíle uvoľnenia po oficiálnej časti.