On July 25, Mark Bourgon was chosen to participate in the Quantum Cryptography School for Young Students at Waterloo University.
Bourgon travelled to Toronto on an all-inclusive trip to attend a week long program with 38 students from across the country.
The program covered everything from pure mathematics, which is relatable to 5th year university, to quantum physics and cryptography. Receiving lectures from top members of the industry, Bourgon learned concepts such as how to encode and decode messages the same way regular computers do.
“It’s unhackable, so it’s a lot safer and more preferred for data transferring things like elections or stock broking,” states 17-year old Bourgon.
Staying on the University campus, the group visited the Institute of Quantum Computing (IQC), the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and had the opportunity to tour the entire Waterloo campus.
“The Perimeter Institute is Canada’s MIT basically, they do a lot of advanced science research and development,” says Bourgon.
Lectures took place from directors and department heads of many institutes including IQC, the Perimeter Institute and Quantum Works. Quantum Works are set up in 12 universities across Canada, and coordinate people who are doing research, developing and theorizing.
Bourgon discovered the program from a poster in Dryden High School, and had to go through an application process. The process included a letter of reference from a professional who knows the work ethic of the student, as well as a written application on why the student would like to attend, and the inspirations and aspirations of the teens.
All expenses were paid for the trip, including flight travel right from Dryden.
“Funny enough, that from the North, it was the most expensive trip,” remarks Bourgon. “Even the person that was from the Centre of Victoria Island was less, just because of the isolation of Dryden.”
Bourgan has big plans for his future, including acceptance to the University of Waterloo, majoring in Quantum Physics or Pure Mathematics.
“If I still haven’t decided by the time I’m in University, then figuring out the course load and if I’m still interested in all that stuff, by the end of the year I will decide which way I’m going to go with it. I’ll probably end up doing a major in one, and a minor in the other,” relays Bourgon.
The young scholar is looking toward a Masters first, followed by research and a major thesis, and finishing up with a PhD. Final goal is to be employed by IQC or the Perimeter Insitute, dealing with either theoretical or quantum physics. By Ally Dunham