Sean Barrett

I am very sad to learn that Sean Barrett of Imperial College London, who made important contributions to fault tolerance and optical quantum computing, among other areas, was tragically killed in a traffic accident in Perth on Friday. He was just 36 years old.
Sean had a gift for working at the boundary where theory meets experiment, and many of his theoretical contributions over the past decade have led to experimental progress. Sean’s presence was felt especially strongly here in Australia, where he spent several years as a researcher. He was not only a valued member of our research community but was also a personal friend to many of us, and he will be sorely missed.

5 Replies to “Sean Barrett”

  1. Sean was a tutor for the quantum information theory course at Cambridge when I was an undergraduate there, as part of a brilliant teaching (and often comic!) double-act with Tom Stace. Their enthusiasm and sense of fun (and great teaching!) were a fantastic advertisement for the field, when I was still trying to decide what to do a PhD in. If it wasn’t for Sean, I would be a particle theorist today. And I’m sure he would have agreed that saving students from such a fate was one of his finest teaching achievements!
    Thanks Sean for being the first to show me all the great things our field has going for it, not just scientifically but also the wonderful people working in it. You’ll be sorely missed, for both reasons.

  2. I have enjoyed many engaging, hilarious, and informative conversations with Sean. He cared about science passionately, was not afraid to venture into new areas, and like many others I will miss his presence in the community.

  3. I met Sean in London earlier this year, and was greatly impressed how during a single conversation he went from teaching me about quantum optics at one point to teaching me the obscure subtleties of British humour the next…

  4. First time I met Sean he was sat at the back of a talk I gave at Imperial, I thought he was asleep until the end when he asked a totally on the nose question which stopped me in my tracks and made me think again. This was typical of my scientific discussions with Sean, he challenged you but with great humor and encouragement, more than anything driven by a deep and engaging interest.
    I have since greatly enjoyed spending time in his company, both as a colleague and as a friend.
    Every conversation with Sean I learnt something, either from physic, the jazz trumpet, or whatever else was blowing in the wind that day.
    He had a gift for explaining and inspiring, and he made you laugh.
    We’ll miss you man.

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