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A photo of Laird Egan at a desk
May 18, 2022 | Podcast

Science in Quarantine: A Rush to Go Remote

In this episode, we look back at the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when impending lab closures were threatening scientific progress and graduate student careers. We sit down with Laird Egan, then a graduate student in physics at JQI, and hear about how he and his lab mates managed to turn their ion-based quantum computer into a remote-controlled experiment in a matter of weeks. We also learn how they used their newly remote lab to achieve a milestone in quantum computing.
Elizabeth Bennewitz in a black top stands in front of red and clear windows.
May 18, 2022 | People News

JQI Graduate Student Receives DOE Fellowship

Elizabeth Bennewitz, a first-year physics graduate student at JQI and the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science (QuICS), has received a Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship. Bennewitz is one of 33 recipients in 2022—the largest number of students this program has ever selected in a year.
A pink sheet with a hexagonal pattern lies over a similar purple sheet of hexagons with both being curved to form a bumpy surface that is reminiscent of rolling hills.
May 5, 2022 |

Bilayer Graphene Inspires Two-Universe Cosmological Model

Physicists sometimes come up with crazy stories that sound like science fiction. Some turn out to be true, like how the curvature of space and time described by Einstein was eventually borne out by astronomical measurements. Others linger on as mere possibilities or mathematical curiosities. In a new paper in Physical Review Research, JQI Fellow Victor  have explored the imaginative possibility that our reality is only one half of a pair of interacting worlds. Their mathematical model may provide a new perspective for looking at fundamental features of reality—including why our universe expands the way it does and how that relates to the most miniscule lengths allowed in quantum mechanics. These topics are crucial to understanding our universe and are part of one of the great mysteries of modern physics. The pair of scientists stumbled upon this new perspective when they were looking into research on sheets of graphene—single atomic layers of carbon in a repeating hexagonal pattern.
Bringewatt in a white shirt and blazer stands in front of a projector screen showing a slide that says "Entangled Quantum Sensors for High Precision Measurements" and shows basic graphics.
April 15, 2022 | People News

JQI Grad Student Wins UMD Three-Minute Thesis Competition

JQI graduate student Jacob Bringewatt is one of four post-candidacy student winners in the campus-wide portion of the UMD Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. Each of these four winners received $1000. Each will be further evaluated by the UMD Graduate School, and one will be selected to represent the university in an international 3MT competition. In these events, the competitors must distill the research project that they are dedicating years of their life to into a three-minute presentation that is accessible to someone unfamiliar with the topic.
Alicia  Kollár wearing glasses and a blue and white plaid shirt in front of red and clear windows.
March 30, 2022 | People News

JQI Fellow Kollár Bridges Abstract Math and Realities of the Lab

The research of JQI Fellow Alicia Kollár, who is also a Chesapeake Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, embodies the give and take between physics and mathematics. In her lab, she brings abstract theories to life and in turn collaborates on new theorems. She has forged a research program of manipulating light on a chip, coaxing the light into behaving as though it lives on the surface of a sphere, or a mathematical abstraction known as a hyperbolic surface. She also collaborates with mathematicians, furthering both the understanding of what these chips can do and their underlying mathematics. A direct collaboration with pure mathematicians is uncommon for a physicist, particularly an experimentalist. But Kollár is no stranger to mathematics.
Michael Winer in a plaid shirt and jeans sits in a wooden lawn chair.
March 23, 2022 | People News

Growing into a Physicist at UMD

JQI graduate student Michael Winer has had a relationship with physics—and physics at the University of Maryland in particular—since he was a kid. He first came to UMD as a high school student pursuing his competitive spirit when physics was a fun challenge. Then over time, physics became something more nuanced for him. Now, he has returned to UMD to pursue physics as a career and is also helping introduce the joys of physics to a new generation of bright young minds.
An asymmetric grey shape has a black curved path wandering through the center of it. Two sections of the path have arrows pointing to peaks that have a color gradient from red at the base to green at the top of the peaks.
March 7, 2022 | Research News

New Perspective Blends Quantum and Classical to Understand Quantum Rates of Change

There is nothing permanent except change. This is perhaps never truer than in the fickle and fluctuating world of quantum mechanics. The quantum world is in constant flux. The properties of quantum particles flit between discrete, quantized states without any possibility of ever being found in an intermediate state. How quantum states change defies normal intuition and remains the topic of active debate—for both scientists and philosophers. The rules governing things like billiards balls and the temperature of a gas look very different from the quantum rules governing things like electron collisions and the energy absorbed or released by a single atom. And there is no known sharp, defining line between these two radically different domains of physical laws. Quantum changes are foundational to our universe and understanding them is becoming increasingly important for practical applications of quantum technologies. In a paper published Feb. 28, 2022 in the journal Physical Review X, JQI Fellow Alexey Gorshkov, JQI postdoctoral researcher Luis Pedro García-Pintos and their colleagues provide a new perspective for investigating quantum changes. They developed a mathematical description that sorts quantum behaviors in a system into two distinct parts. One piece of their description looks like the behavior of a quantum system that isn’t interacting with anything, and the second piece looks like the familiar behavior of a classical system. Using this perspective, the researchers identified limits on how quickly quantum systems can evolve based on their general features, and they better describe how those changes relate to changes in non-quantum situations.
Elizabeth Bennewitz in a black top stands in front of red and clear windows.
February 18, 2022 | People News

JQI Graduate Student Is Finalist for Hertz Fellowship

Elizabeth Bennewitz, a first-year physics graduate student at JQI and QuICS, has been named a finalist for a 2022 Hertz Fellowship. Out of more than 650 applicants, Bennewitz is one of 45 finalists with a chance of receiving up to $250,000 in support from the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation. The fellowships provide up to five years of funding for recipients pursuing a Ph.D.
Alicia  Kollár wearing glasses and a blue and white plaid shirt in front of red and clear windows.
February 15, 2022 | People News

JQI Fellow Kollár Awarded Sloan Research Fellowship

JQI Fellow Alicia Kollár has been awarded a prestigious 2022 Sloan Research Fellowship. This award is given to early career researchers by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to recognize distinguished performance and the potential to make substantial contributions to their field. Each fellowship provides $75,000 to support the fellow’s research over two years.
A photo of Nicole Yunger Halpern at a whiteboard
February 2, 2022 | People News

Nicole Yunger Halpern Ponders Quantum Mechanics, Thermodynamics, and Everything Else

There is a well-known saying, of disputed origin, that dissuades students and even working physicists from thinking too deeply about the meaning behind quantum physics. “Shut up and calculate,” it goes. Nicole Yunger Halpern, an affiliate of JQI and the newest Fellow of the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science (QuICS), was never one to abide by this mantra. Instead, Yunger Halpern, who is also a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, brings a vast intellectual curiosity to physics, from tackling abstract theory to collaborating with experimentalists, all the while drawing distinct connections between diverse disciplines of physics. She also brings her research to life through writing, imbuing it with historical, philosophical, and even artistic context.

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