Rakesh Kumar Saini

  • PhD student
  • EQUS
  • Macquarie University
  • Road-tripping Brisbane to Longreach (2024)

What do you do?

My PhD research is about resource theory of quantum measurements.  Imagine I ask you to choose a mobile and give you the options of Samsung or Apple.  Which one would you choose and how would you make your decision?  You might ask me about the quality of each of them: how much memory each has, what the megapixels on the camera are, etc.  In a similar way, we need to define the quality of different measurement devices.  I work on find out which quantum measurement is better mathematically.

How did you get to where you are today?

I began my early education in a small town in Rajasthan, India, where my fascination with understanding the natural world around was sown.  This curiosity led me to pursue an Integrated Master’s degree in Physics in Mumbai.  During my final year, I developed a keen interest in quantum computing and information, which inspired me to write my thesis on the subject.  Eager to continue exploring this field, I sought out experts working in related areas.  That’s when I discovered Professor Alexei Gilchrist at Macquarie University, who specialises in quantum measurements.  His research was incredibly intriguing, and I was drawn to the idea of working with him.  Excited by the prospect, I applied and am now pursuing my PhD at Macquarie under his mentorship.

What’s the best thing about your role?

The greatest aspect of pursuing a PhD is the autonomy you have over your work.  It’s truly your project, and you bear the primary responsibility for its successes and challenges.  This journey offers a unique blend of freedom and responsibility: the freedom to set your own working hours and explore your chosen topic, coupled with the responsibility to guide your research toward achieving your final goal.  Balancing this autonomy with accountability makes the PhD experience both rewarding and demanding.

What advice would you give to someone considering studying science?

Be curious yet cautious.  Embrace your curiosity by asking questions about everything that intrigues you.  However, in today’s age of information overload, it’s essential to be cautious about the explanations you encounter.  Take the time to evaluate the logic behind any claim thoroughly.  Only accept and believe something if it holds up to rigorous reasoning and scrutiny.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I love hiking, coastal walks, cafe and pub hopping as much as curling up with a good book at home or cooking up some good spicy Indian food.  Currently, I am into Greek mythology.

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