Abdul R Mirza

If it wasn’t for Abdul Mirza the 2010 Fifa World Cup might not have run quite as smoothly. Using his research and development work in quantum encryption systems at the Centre for Quantum Technology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), he project-managed the installation of vital communications and security systems for the event at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. Mirza, who has an MSc in Applied Physics and a PhD in Quantum Physics, would describe himself as an out-of-the-box thinker. Whether through his research at UKZN or through QZN Technology, the company he founded to take this research into the marketplace, he takes ideas and translates them into cutting-edge technology for the future: think quantum computers and high-precision instruments. Though to many of us these quantum technologies may seem like a dream, Mirza’s goal is to get us to that future, through innovative ideas and by teaching the thinkers of the future. — Caroline Cowan