09 January 2013
Professor Ignacio Cirac receives the Niels Bohr Institute Medal of Honour
Ignacio Cirac is the Director of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching near Munich in Germany. He is being awarded the Niels Bohr Institute Medal of Honour in recognition of his truly outstanding contribution to the development of new theories about the future of information networks based on the laws of quantum mechanics.
"Ignacio Cirac is one of the pioneers in the quantum computing and quantum information theory and the Niels Bohr Institute wants to honour this very active and up and coming researcher with the Niels Bohr Institute Medal of Honour,” says Professor Robert Feidenhans'l, Director of the Niels Bohr Institute.
Ignacio Cirac works in several main fields of quantum physics. He has developed, in collaboration with his colleague, Professor Peter Zoller, the first theory for a quantum computer based on ion traps. This theory, which opened for the first time the possibility to actually make a realistic quantum computer contributed to last year’s Nobel Prize in physics. His work on optical lattices kick-started research into quantum simulation, which is now being studied in many laboratories. He is also working on the storage of quantum information, which can be used to transport information over long distances. He has also developed theories that make it easier to simulate complex physical systems on regular computers.
“Ignacio Cirac is an exceptional theorist who understands how to talk to experimental physicists. His proposals are often implemented experimentally,” explains Professor Eugene Polzik, head of the research group, Quantop at the Niels Bohr Institute. Eugene Polzik has worked closely together with Professor Cirac since 1998 and have written numerous scientific articles together. Ignacio Cirac has also collaborated with Professor Anders Sørensen at the Niels Bohr Institute, so there is a very strong and fruitful collaboration between Ignacio Cirac and the Niels Bohr Institute. Students also take part in exchanges between the two institutes.
He received his education in theoretical physics at Universidad Complutense in Madrid, and after receiving his PhD in 1991, he went to the University of Colorado in Boulder, USA. In 1996 he became a professor at the Institut für Theoretische Physik in Innsbruck, Austria, and in 2001 he became director of the theoretical division of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany.
Outstanding research in the spirit of Niels Bohr
The Niels Bohr Institute Medal of Honour was established in 2010 on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the birth of Niels Bohr. The medal is awarded annually to a particularly outstanding researcher who is working in the spirit of Niels Bohr: International cooperation and the exchange of knowledge.
The presentation of the Medal of Honour took place in the historic Auditorium A at the Niels Bohr Institute.