Dr Benoit and Ryan then continued their collaborative work over the summer and their research was soon sponsored by software company Zapata Computing which was able to provide the two researchers with access to the advanced quantum computing platform they needed.
Ryan said: “I'm proud of the method that we developed. It was based on previous work and some new ideas – but putting it together the way that we did, how we improved current processes, is what I'm most proud of. That feeling of creating something new.
“I'm really glad that our project is starting to take off. Quantum Computing is still in its junior years, and has plenty of avenues to explore. Quantum Astrochemistry is just one of those avenues but I hope that it'll one day widen into a full boulevard.”
“I'm currently taking a year out from research, but I really enjoyed our working environment and the people in the Physics Department are fantastic.”
The research comes not long after the University of Hull Physics course is ranked in the top 10 nationally according to the 2022 Guardian University Rankings: an achievement which is based on course satisfaction and teaching satisfaction.
Ryan’s research has achieved wide spread national and international media coverage, with the story reaching both India and Brazil.
Dr Benoit said: “Quantum computing is still very much a new technology and a curiosity that has limited specific applications and very few, if any, in astrophysics so far.
‘We’re planning to extend the technique we developed to more molecules and see how far we can push this.”
While the potential of this technique is yet to be further explored, the mysteries around alien life remain.
“The best we can say is that the Universe would be pretty dull if there wasn’t something else out there – the probability can’t just be zero. We are going to continue working on our models so that if there is something to find, we’ll be ready and waiting!” said Dr Benoit.
On being asked what next steps Ryan will take on his future career path he said he would enjoy being a lecturer and teaching others about advanced science, however his collaboration with Zapata has opened his eyes to the possibility of working in the industry.
For details of Physics courses at the University of Hull, please visit our website.
Physics and Astrophysics at Hull is ranked 7th in the UK and 3rd in the UK for satisfaction in teaching.*
* The Guardian University Guide 2022