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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 lead the team of Application Scientist for Quantum Technologies. As a team we support our customers, talk to quantum scientists to learn more about their future research and work on marketing material. A large part of my job is the coordination of our activities and making sure that we always provide the best solution to our customers. We do this by working closely with the product managers and sharing our knowledge across the team and in the company to always create the highest customer value and address customer needs with our new products. In my role, together with other members of my team, I am also responsible for organizing and managing Zurich Instruments’ collaboration projects with external partners. One example was OpenSuperQ, a European Flagship project with the goal of developing an architecture for a quantum computer that is capable of controlling up to 100 qubits. Currently we are involved in several exciting projects on internal and national level with a large variety of partners from academia and industry. My task is to make sure that the main objectives of these projects are aligned with our R&D plans and our company strategy.

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. That impressed me, also because 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.

Moritz Kirste

Moritz is Quantum Computing team lead and coordinator for Zurich Instruments' collaboration projects.

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