In 2016, a Delft University of Technological physics professor came up with an incredible and highly profitable idea: Transfer to a technology business. It appeared to be on the lookout for unique particles that may be used to build a powerful quantum computer that Microsoft is working on. The discovery of the so-called Majorana particle is likely to earn Kouwenhoven a Nobel Prize, establishing him as a quantum physics celebrity.
Microsoft does not yet have a working quantum computer, unlike competitors such as IBM and Google. These “future computers,” according to scientists, will be able to execute ultra-fast calculations on climate models, for example. Microsoft appeared to be able to outpace the competition in one fell swoop because to Kouwenhoven’s study. He was named director of Delft’s new Quantum Lab, in which Microsoft had committed millions of dollars. In 2019, King Willem-Alexander visited the Netherlands in person.
Microsoft claimed in a brief written response that Kouwenhoven’s departure “is linked to a change in the approach to scalable quantum computing.” “We wish Leo the best of luck in the future and appreciate his contributions to Microsoft.”
The quantum professor on the phone referred to Microsoft’s statement when asked why he was quitting. “I’m afraid I can’t comment on that.” More information will be provided at a later date. “I have a strategy in place for that.”
It also leaves the question of whether he will return to TU Delft as a researcher unanswered. He was offered a zero-hour post as a professor at Microsoft after his transfer. That, according to a university official, is still the case today.
At the start of last year, Kouwenhoven’s work lost its credibility. Then it was discovered that Majorana particles were in a study under his direction, despite the fact that this had not been confirmed. Two former Kouwenhoven employees revealed that the scientific publication regarding this contained unauthorized cut-and-paste and was based on inaccurate assessments. Koenhoven pulled the item from TOP magazine nature only after much perseverance on their part. Described in a large-scale reconstruction by de Volkskrant
Three other key scientific articles from his collection have also been questioned. Magazines include a disclaimer with certain articles, stating that “there may be issues with how the search data has been handled.”
Whether or not these issues led to Kouwenhoven’s departure, neither he nor Microsoft will say. Perhaps the professor’s services are no longer required by the American IT firm, so he is free to depart by the back door. The corporation mentions newsletters in its written answer. Monday’s announcement: The majorana was to be made in his research lab in Lyngby, Denmark. It’s difficult to know if this is true because the findings aren’t public or published in a scientific journal. In an email answer, quantum professor Christian Schönenberger (University of Basel) states, “I would be very careful to explain this.” Majorana is difficult to establish.
Maintain your integrity
Kouwenhoven’s poison chalice, on the other hand, didn’t appear to be empty yet. Following the publication of the first issue, TU Delft began an integrity investigation, which is still ongoing. Scientists may have engaged in scientific tunneling and wishful thinking, according to a panel of experts who participated in the study. they noticed There is no proof of malice. The University is now also Achieving Integrity II I started due to probable concerns with Majorana’s other publications from the Kouwenhoven group.