Interview: Moritz Kirste
How and when did you join Zurich Instruments?
I obtained my PhD in atomic and molecular physics at the Fritz-Haber-Institut (FHI) in Berlin, a historically interesting place that was the founding institute of the Max-Planck-Society. After a postdoc in Taiwan and another at the FHI, I decided to leave fundamental science and joined a scientific consulting company that advises political institutions such as the German Ministry of Science and Education on scientific policy. An example of my work there was a campaign to invest more in artificial intelligence (AI) research, something that is close to my expertise in robotics and AI (also known as human-machine interaction). One of my roles there was to translate scientific research into something on which political decisions could be based. I also led data-science-related projects to develop data science products for our customers. After this exciting work experience, I moved to Zurich for personal reasons. I knew about Zurich Instruments from physics journals and conferences, and then I found this interesting opening thanks to a quantum-related job search.
What does your job look like, and what is the most important aspect of it?
I have three roles at Zurich Instruments. As an application scientist, I talk to customers, take care of application fits and work on marketing material. I am also Product Manager for the QCCS software, which means I have to make sure that we create customer value and address customers’ needs with our quantum computing software. In my third role, I am responsible for organizing and managing Zurich Instruments’ collaboration projects with external partners. We have several exciting projects at the moment. For example, OpenSuperQ is a European Flagship project with the goal of developing an architecture for a quantum computer that is capable of controlling up to 100 qubits. My task is to make sure that the main objectives of these projects are aligned with our R&D plans.
What is the most memorable Zurich Instruments moment that stayed with you?
What I found most impressive in my first year is that people at Zurich Instruments live by the company values: ‘Lead the Change’, ‘Develop and Grow Together’, and ‘Be the Reference’. If you want to make a change or there is something you want to do, no one will stop you from taking action. What impressed me most is the fact that we are not a small company anymore, therefore this is not easy to achieve.
How do you spend your free time?
I spend a lot of time with my family. When the children are in bed, I like to read anything from classical literature to hard Sci-Fi. I also like hiking and swimming, and try to be active whenever I can. Switzerland is of course a great place for hikes. My way home from work also has a unique and fun advantage: I can actually swim home from the office, and in the summer I do that whenever possible.