Jian-Wei Pan

by Anton Zeilinger
VCG/Getty Images

I can’t imagine the emergence of quantum technology without Jian-Wei Pan. The world came to appreciate his work last summer, when he achieved quantum communication using quantum states of photons between Earth and China’s Micius satellite orbiting more than 300 miles overhead—and establishing the country as a leader in the field.

This opens the door to a new world of secure communications and encryption. Trying to hack such a system disturbs its quantum state and sets off alarms. When Micius, the world’s first quantum satellite, launched in 2016, it was thanks to Jian-Wei Pan, whose vision made the project a reality. He is the kind of person who pulls up his sleeves and gets to work. His long-term goal of a quantum Internet has come a few leaps closer because of this. I consider it a privilege to have been his teacher.

Zeilinger is a senior scientist at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information Vienna and a University of Vienna professor emeritus of physics

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