In memory of Sean Barrett

When I was a budding young PhD student, trying to find my way into the world of academia and theoretical physics, there was a small group of people who guided me, stood up for me, collaborated with me, provided a guiding hand, and acted as wonderful, compassionate friends. One of those people was Sean Barrett, who was killed last week in a senseless driving accident involving a young man with a stolen vehicle.

Sean was one of the brightest young men I’ve ever met, and by the age of his death, 36, had already made a vast contribution to my field of quantum computing. He was destined to become one of the big names in this exciting and future-defining field.

Most notably, he made significant contributions to optical quantum computation, quantum error correction and fault tolerance, and topological and cluster state quantum computation. This included two papers with me on cluster state preparation and atomic ensemble quantum computation. He had a stellar career, involving many prestigious positions, including holding a fellowship with the Royal Society.

I’ll never forget the assistance Sean provided me in my early career and the friendship and laughs he brought with it. I feel eternally grateful for the role he played in my life.

He will be sadly missed by his friends, family and colleagues, who all knew him as a brilliant young mind with a magnetic and cheerful personality. The world has been robbed of a truly outstanding young man with much to contribute.

I wish his family and friends all the best.

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