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.

4 thoughts on “In memory of Sean Barrett”

  1. Your Comments
    It is safe to say that nothing that anyone writes or says will bring back my friend and brother but it is an amazing and heart wrenching truth that he was loved and respected by so many people.
    I am intensely proud of him and miss him beyond any thing I could possibly write.
    He is fucking ace, I love him, my son and my friends who met him, love him.
    He has the most loyal friends I could hope for.
    Every time this senseless loss threatens to drag me under, I hear him laughing, taking the piss and generally making me laugh beer out of my nose.
    Goodnight Seany, I want to call you a bell end again but all these fuckin quantum bastards have made it clear that you are as fucking brilliant as I always knew you were.

  2. Posts about Aussie Drivers being some of the worst are not hitting the point, the point is the car was stolen and the driver of the stolen car was evading police, happens all over the world, stolen cars killing innocent people on the roads so let’s not start a debate about which country has the worst drivers here, a thug has stolen a car and drove like a madman to evade being caught by the police whilst not giving a care in the world for anyone else on the road be it young, old, American, British, Australian, Japanese! RIP to the innocent men lost to the carnage caused by this rotten thug who will probably walk in two years! Thoughts go out to the families and friends of these two innocent men.

    1. Stephen, the danger of a public post such as this is that some one will log in and feel the need to pipe up.
      I personally don’t give a fuck about the nationality, occupation or motivation of the driver.
      Keep in my mind that it was my brother killed.
      No one is starting a debate.
      I doubt you knew Sean at all so I’m wondering by what stroke of arrogant self important belief you feel remotely justified in graffiti-ing your shallow observations on tribute page.
      If you can’t see the contradiction and hypocrisy in your reply then let me point it out.
      This is tribute to my dead brother from one of his best friends. Not a medium for your poorly thought out and inconsiderate banalities.
      Do me a favour, if your thoughts are truly with my family, don’t reply, don’t open the wounds with your pointless twaddle and think about your place in the universe with more humility.

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