Springtime has come for the field of quantum computing. Researchers around the globe are hard at work, governments are announcing large-scale projects and new facilities, while start-ups and companies are popping up like mushrooms after the rain. One of the promising technologies for the implementation of a useful quantum computer is trapped ions. But what are these ions? And how are they trapped? Here I will try to give a brief (and by no means exhaustive) history of ion traps, and their evolution across the years toward becoming one of the building blocks for quantum computers.

The early history

Our story begins in…


This year has been challenging for many of us. And just as a Swiss watch, the Christmas holidays have arrived. I myself was given a special gift for this holiday season: a positive Covid test! While I try to recover, in the small windows of energy I have, I want to share with you my personal list of “antidotes”, to cope with these heavy days.

Are you stuck at home unable to join your family? Are you quarantined alone? Are you fighting or recovering from Covid? Or you simply had enough of 2020? Here’s my personal list of antidotes, tried…


University-level teaching and learning has been turned upside down, here’s my experience.

I am a bad virtual learner. I have signed up to countless online courses, only to devour the first few chapters, and then forget altogether I am even taking the course.

One of my favourite university experiences was to learn and study with my friends, debating each and every concept until all details were ironed out.

The interaction, usually in pairs or small groups, kept me motivated and engaged. Online courses, despite their best effort with improving engagement through online chats and forums, have not managed to motivate…


A review of “The science of wellbeing”, a course taught by Laurie Santos at Yale University.

A couple of months ago one of my favourite thinkers and humans, Sam Harris, had a conversation on his podcast with a professor of Psychology at Yale University: Dr. Laurie Santos. She focuses on what we can learn from science about our happiness. The conversation, titled “The Science of Happiness” is linked below:

Needless to say, the conversation was very engaging and I found myself really looking for more after the podcast. I was in luck, Laurie, a professor at Yale University, had been…


My husband and I had been dreaming of getting a dog for a while. We live in one of the greenest cities in Europe, right next to a park and a river, a paradise for animals. And then, COVID19 happened. We spent the first weeks at home wondering if this was a message from above, suddenly we were spending more time at home than ever. What more perfect moment to get a puppy?

The search was long and as it turned out our small country has a very limited pool of pure bred dog breeders. Why did we want a…


The author teaching at the University

Growing up in a working family from a small italian village, I heard stories of my parents working since they were 8 years old. While attending high school, I started tutoring kids in lower classes than mine, this was my very first official side job. It was followed by season blueberry picking, facilitating summer camps, working as a waiter at a restaurant, babysitting and working as a clerk at a bureau du change.

Modern italian culture is resistant to having side jobs while studying. The university is a long and windy road, students feel constantly out of time and parents…


During the COVID19 quarantine swiss life got a little quiet. Cut off from usual social life, I have decided to dedicate time to the rich garden which grows inside the mind.

I started with signing up for the most popular course at Yale: “The science of wellbeing”, taught by the amazing Laurie Santos. The course is available for free on Coursera at this link: https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being/. I am still working through the classes, but I will review the course in a later article, stay tuned. If you’d like a little taste, I highly recommend this conversation with Sam Harris: https://samharris.org/podcasts/196-science-happiness/

While…

Chiara Decaroli

Quantum physics researcher, Yoga teacher and occasional illustrator based in Zurich.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store