The Future Is White Dudes

Reporter: Here’s my idea. This group at the University of Chicago is working on quantum computing, and they have the coolest setup in a basement closet. So this Einstein-grade science in a humble beginning. Great photos of equipment with lots of wires. Starting from nothing. Make computers unhackable.

Editor: Wow, so great! Ties in with that Nobel Prize for quantum something. At the forefront of one of the world’s hottest technology competitions.

And so it was. Here are the white dudes working in the basement closet.

Here is the cool setup with no wire control, waiting to electrocute someone.

They have a first aid kit, though.

Quantum research still has plenty of obstacles to overcome before it reaches widespread use. 

I don’t know how long it will take for reporters and editors to understand that university research, at its best, is years away from application. Or that most of it never reaches application. The press releases from the universities leave that out.

The University of Chicago quantum science programs are hardly a humble beginning. They are funded by millions of government dollars. If you google “university of chicago quantum computing,” you will find several entries: Quantum Computing – Department of Computer Science; Quantum Engineering; Chicago Quantum Exchange (an association of the university, national laboratories, and business); Quantum Science – University of Chicago Physics. And still you must add in David Awschalom’s name to find his group. Perhaps that makes it humble.

The overused trope of white dudes working in humble circumstances to bring enlightenment to the masses has been recognized as harmful to the diversity and creativity of science. But reporters and editors keep doing it.

All photos from the article.

Cross-posted to Lawyers, Guns & Money

One comment

  1. Weftage · October 9

    White men get praised as heroes for doing what women and others do as a matter of course. The rest of us generally don’t get the funding & resources, so we makeshift and make do. *Our* heroism goes unacknowledged.


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