Influencers of Quantum Tech: 11 Influential People You Should Probably be Following

Image by ElisaRiva from Pixabay

Hard Work & Brains

We all know that in 2021 social media influencers are an important aspect of many people’s lives. Platforms like YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram have created once unknowns into media personalities: Amanda Cerny on Instagram (24.7M followers) and PewDiePie on YouTube (108M followers) are just two examples. Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Donald Trump, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Rihanna have astronomical numbers following them on social media, too.

Power to them, we say.

However, being famous because you’re a famous sports star or politician or singer is easier than in some other areas, say the sciences.

People like British naturalist David Attenborough and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield have managed to garner followers and influence in their respective fields but they are outliers.

When we talk about quantum computing (QC), which is still in its early stages, there are very few people who can rake in the numbers of followers that experts in other disciplines such as AI, VR and blockchain attain.

But that’s okay. For quantum is only just beginning, at least in the sense of the technology being useful in some way. Because of this, TQD thought it time to collate a list of some of the most high-profile people in the space. By that how influential they are in terms of social media following, books written and how much their opinions hold weight.

The eleven listed span a broad range of experts, both men and women, some scientists others involved in industry. All, however, are intelligent and the right people to be doing what they’re doing.

We could have listed the CEO of IBM Arvind Krishna. Or Peter Chapman, CEO of IonQ. Maybe Alan Baratz of D-Wave Systems or Chad Rigetti of Rigetti Computing. In academia, we could have gone for someone like Alán Aspuru-Guzik or a host of others. The list was composed with ‘media’ presence in mind, so YouTube views, Twitter followers and community prowess etc were the main parameters used.

Sorry if we left anyone out. We didn’t do it on purpose. And just remember, it’s just a bit of fun.

*All information is correct as of 15/4/2021

*YouTube stats are taken from the listee’s top five videos for the number of views

*Academic papers authored or coauthored and citations are sourced from Google Scholar and Semantic Scholar (numbers do vary from site to site, unfortunately.)

1.Scott Aaronson

 

YouTube video views: 349,000

Twitter followers: N/A

Books published: (1) Quantum Computing since Democritus (2013)

Academic papers authored or coauthored: 206

Citations: 6,843

Academic positions: the University of Texas at Austin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Institute for Advanced Study, University of Waterloo

Top prizes awarded: Alan T. Waterman Award, PECASE, Tomassoni–Chisesi Prize

Quantum startups founded or involved in: None

Industry experience: None

Scott is the go-to guy for those heavy into anything to do with quantum theory. A polymath by any estimation, his YouTube videos, his personal blog, Shtetl-Optimized, and general thoughts (sometimes scathing) on the industry are worth their weight in gold.

2.John Martinis

 

YouTube video views: 21,000

Twitter followers: N/A

Books published: None

Academic papers authored or coauthored: 569

Citations: 26,626

Academic positions: University of California, Berkeley, University of California Santa Barbara

Top prizes awarded: Fritz London Memorial Prize

Quantum startups founded or involved in: Silicon Quantum Computing

Industry experience: Google Quantum A.I. Lab

An industry giant with years of experience, John recently left Google to begin life as a quantum entrepreneur along with fellow listee Michelle Simmons joining Silicon Quantum Computing. Always one to listen to if you want a balanced view of the quantum ecosystem, his involvement in the startup is sure to bring success in some form.

3.Michelle Simmons

 

YouTube video views: 415,000

Twitter followers: N/A

Books published: None

Academic papers authored or coauthored: 469

Citations: 7,724

Academic positions: Durham University (Trevelyan College), University of Cambridge, Cavendish Laboratory, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computer Technology, University of New South Wales

Top prizes awarded: Pawsey Medal, Australian Laureate Fellowship, Thomas Ranken Lyle Medal, Eureka Prize, Foresight Institute Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science, Australian of the Year, Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)

Quantum startups founded or involved in: Silicon Quantum Computing

Industry experience: None

When you’re been named Australian of the year, you know you must be doing something right. Michelle’s new venture Silicon Quantum Computing with input from John Martinis should become a powerhouse in the years to come.

4.Jessica Pointing

 

YouTube video views: 406,000

Twitter followers: 1,486

Books published: None

Academic papers authored or coauthored: None

Citations: None

Academic positions: Stanford University, Harvard University and MIT

Top prizes awarded: Forbes 30 under 30 list in the Science category, IBM Q Quantum Computing Award, Creative Destruction Lab quantum computing hackathon winner, McKinsey Women’s Impact Award, MIT Award for Distinguished Achievement in Leadership

Quantum startups founded or involved in: None

Industry experience: Google, McKinsey and Company, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley

One of the younger generation of quantum influencers, Jessica’s slick presentations on quantum physics are a pleasure to watch. One whose star is only set to rise in the future.

5.Krysta Svore

 

YouTube video views: 488,000

Twitter followers: 2,999

Books published: None

Academic papers authored or coauthored: 106

Citations: 4,869

Academic positions: Columbia University, MIT, Caltech

Top prizes awarded: Most Powerful Female Engineer 2018 Business Insider, ACM Best of 2013 Notable Article, Computing Review

Quantum startups founded or involved in: None

Industry experience: IBM (intern) Microsoft

Krysta is Microsoft’s flag bearer in the quantum space. With close to half a million views garnered on YouTube, her videos on quantum computing are professional, interesting and clearly a boon for Microsoft.

6.Shohini Ghose

 

YouTube video views: 2.3M

Twitter followers: N/A

Books published: Clues to the Cosmos (2019)

Academic papers authored or coauthored: 83

Citations: 1,034

Academic positions: University of New Mexico, Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Calgary

Top prizes awarded: Alberta Ingenuity Fellowship, Shera Bangali Award, Gifted Citizen, Mahatma Gandhi Global Achievers award, Women of Waterloo (WOW) Education Award, American Physical Society Women Physicist of the Month, TED Fellow, Indo-Canadians The A List, Rogers Woman of the Year Award, Hoffman-Little Award, Inductee, Royal Society of Canada, College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, Faculty of Science Award for Teaching Excellence, Wilfrid Laurier University, Senior TED Fellow

Quantum startups founded or involved in: None

Industry experience: Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

Maybe not the most familiar on the list, Shohini has incredibly over two million YouTube views. Her TedTalks are an excellent introduction to the topic of quantum mechanics and quantum computing and her profile is only set to rise as the industry grows in popularity.

7.Anastasia Marchenkova

 

YouTube video views: 440,000

Twitter followers: 4,773

Books published: None

Academic papers authored or coauthored: None

Citations: None

Academic positions: University of Maryland

Top prizes awarded: Faculty Choice Fellowship for Ph.D. Candidates, Thomas T Flagler Jr College of Sciences Scholarship, President’s Undergraduate Research Award, President’s Undergraduate Research Award, National Merit Commended Student

Quantum startups founded or involved in: Bleximo

Industry experience: None

Anastasia has some very slick videos and is slowly reaching half a million followers. With some excellent content on quantum progamming, she is also one of the few on the list involved with a startup in the industry, Bleximo. This gives her a unique perspective on quantum’s commercial possibilities. She will definitely become a high riser in the future and one to look out for.

8.Bob Sutor

 

YouTube video views: 49,800

Twitter follwers: 3,421

Books published: (1) Dancing with Qubits: How quantum computing works and how it can change the world (2019)

Academic papers authored or coauthored: 11

Citations: N/A

Academic positions: Princeton University

Top prizes awarded: 2020 BookAuthority #1 Best New Quantum Computing Books for Dancing with Qubits

Quantum startups founded or involved in: None

Industry experience: IBM

Having spent years at IBM, Bob knows the industry inside out. Although not too many followers on social media, his excellent book Dancing with Qubits is an excellent introduction to the space and one TQD can highly recommend.

9.Abraham Asfaw

 

YouTube video views: 191,000

Twitter followers: 4,963

Books published: None

Academic papers authored or coauthored: 11

Citations: 58

Academic positions: Princeton University

Top prizes awarded: N/A

Quantum startups founded or involved in: None

Industry experience: IBM

Another influencer who is probably less known than many others, Abraham’s Qiskit videos are an excellent resource for those interested in the IBM quantum ecosystem and his friendly presentation style makes the experience all the better.

10.John Preskill

 

YouTube video views: 978,000

Twitter followers: 112,300

Books published: Lecture Notes for Physics Quantum Information and Computation (1997)

Academic papers authored or coauthored: 158

Citations: 15,170

Academic positions: Harvard University, Caltech

Top prizes awarded: Manfred Pyka Memorial Prize in Physics, Kusaka Memorial Prize in Physics, Albert G. Milbank Memorial Scholarship Prize,George B. Wood Legacy Prize, National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, NSF Presidential Young Investigator, Associated Students of Caltech Teaching Award, Fellow, American Physical Society, IBM Faculty Partnership Award

Quantum startups founded or involved in: None

Industry experience: None

There’s not really a lot to say about John, is there? One of the scientific pioneers of QC during the 1980s and the man who coined the term “Quantum Supremacy” back in 2012, his knowledge is second to none. With almost a million views on YouTube and a very healthy Twitter following, there are few people out there who can compete with his understanding and insight on the subject.

11.Talia Gershon

 

YouTube video views: 7.6M

Twitter followers: 4,338

Books published: None

Academic papers authored or coauthored: 20

Citations: 2,780

Academic positions: University of Cambridge

Top honours awarded: Materials literature review prize winner

Quantum startups founded or involved in: None

Industry experience: IBM

With more than seven million YouTube views, Talia is really killing it in a social media sense. Her fun videos (The Wired ones are a particular favourite) are a great introduction to QC.

Honourable mentions: William ‘Whurley’ Hurley and Jay Gambetta.

Have we missed any out or got something wrong? If so, don’t hesitate to contact us at hello@thequantumdaily.com.

James Dargan
James Dargan
James Dargan is a contributor at The Quantum Daily. His focus is on the QC startup ecosystem and he writes articles on the space that have a tone accessible to the average reader

Related Articles

Jobs Board

TQD jobs board provides exclusive jobs offerings all over the internet from tech, quantum, digital and scientific organisations.

Latest Articles

The Quantum Daily