This week, Lucy travelled to Berlin to attend the 2017 Quantum Materials Symposium at the Max Planck Society’s Harnack-Haus. It was a fascinating meeting that addressed several grand challenges in quantum materials research. The design, synthesis, properties and possible applications of a broad range of quantum materials were discussed, including topological materials, superconductors and quantum magnets. It was especially interesting to hear from other groups working on the discovery and design of new quantum materials. Particular highlights for Lucy included Prof Emilia Morosan’s (Rice University) great overview of her group’s single crystal growth of new quantum materials and Prof Roser Valenti’s (Goethe University) insights into the design of quantum spin-orbit coupled systems.