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Top International Physicist Teaching and Researching in Aachen and Jülich

IFF-News October 13, 2010

The international expert in the field of quantum physics will take up his position as the first JARA professor during the course of the coming year. He will take over as director of the newly founded Institute of Theoretical Nanoelectronics. Simultaneously, he will be appointed professor at the Institute of Theoretical Quantum Information at RWTH Aachen University.

Dr David DiVincenzo was awarded the most coveted international research prize in Germany: the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship. In his work as a JARA professor, Dr DiVincenzo will benefit from excellent research conditions. The prize money provided by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation will be invested in setting up two institutes. Further resources for equipment and infrastructure will be provided by RWTH Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Jülich. In his position as university professor in Aachen and as director of an institute in Jülich, Dr DiVincenzo will have full rights and access to resources at both institutions.

"We are delighted that Dr DiVincenzo has been awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship," said Prof. Ernst Schmachtenberg, Rector of RWTH Aachen University. "We are proud that the combined efforts of RWTH Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Jülich within the Jülich-Aachen Research Alliance attracted such a highly acclaimed international researcher to the first JARA professorship," continued Prof. Achim Bachem, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Forschungszentrum Jülich.

First JARA Professor: Dr David DiVincenzo

The JARA professorship was set up in order to attract highly acclaimed international scientists to the Jülich-Aachen region. The JARA professorship offers institutional affiliation with a combination of full rights, obligations and resources at both locations. This means that it is much better equipped than a normal position as professor or director.  Dr David DiVincenzo will be the first JARA professor to come to Forschungszentrum Jülich. His research activities on the topic of quantum physics will be integrated into JARA-FIT. His main research priority is in the field of quantum computing. The exploitation of quantum physical degrees of freedom in what are known as quantum computers offers a promising alternative to conventional computers in the long term. Highly complex problems, the solution of which will continue to elude conventional computers in the future, can be elegantly solved with this new type of computer.

A quantum leap: From IBM T. J. Watson Research Center to Jülich  

Dr David DiVincenzo is one of the most internationally renowned scientists in the research area of quantum mechanics.
He studied at the University of Pennsylvania, where he completed his B.S.E. in 1979, before going on to complete his mater's followed by his PhD in 1983. He has been working at the Physical Sciences Department, IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, in Yorktown Heights, NY, since 1985.

David DiVincenzo was one of the first physicists to focus on quantum information and he is considered the eminent authority in quantum information processing. He is a pioneer in the field of quantum computing. "With Dr DiVincenzo, JARA-FIT has gained the inventor of a particularly promising way of making the spin-based quantum computer a reality," Prof. Markus Morgenstern, director of JARA-FIT, said enthusiastically. Thanks to quantum parallelism, such a computer is capable of processing certain tasks much faster than a conventional computer, which would require a very long time. Dr David DiVincenzo has already provided important insights in this field. He has drawn up a list of requirements that must be fulfilled for the physical implementation of a quantum computer – the "DiVincenzo criteria".
His work is also important in the fields of materials sciences and solid-state physics.

The newly appointed Alexander von Humboldt professor is looking forward to the challenges of work in Germany: "I am certainly thrilled and honoured to have been selected in this prestigious competition!" DiVincenzo and his family will move to Germany during the coming year. His wife, Dr Barbara Terhal, who is also a successful internationally acclaimed physicist, will take up a post as professor at RWTH Aachen University.

Dr David DiVincenzo: One of the most cited theoretical physicists

Dr DiVincenzo has authored around 151 publications and is recognized as one of the most cited theoretical physicists. His publication "Quantum computation with quantum dots" (1998), which he co-authored with Prof. Daniel Loss, has been cited 2 540 times. "He is 50 years old and boasts some 15 000 citations. If we extrapolate the citation rate of around 1 500 citations per annum to his 60th birthday, then he will have been cited 30 000 times – roughly as often as Prof. Binder in Mainz, who is to the best of my knowledge the most cited theoretical physicist in Germany," said Prof. Herbert Schoeller of RWTH Aachen University.

Furthermore, 12 of Dr DiVincenzo's publications have appeared in Nature and Science, and he is editor of The Virtual Journal of Quantum Information.

For Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen University, the appointment of Dr David DiVincenzo represents a stepping stone towards consolidating the research area of quantum information. Two additional working groups on the topic headed by internationally recognized experimenters are to follow next year. With such success, JARA convincingly demonstrates how attractive and strategic such cooperation is, going beyond the capabilities of the individual institutions.

Prof. Markus Morgenstern is convinced that "even though we are still a long way from implementing the first functional quantum computer, with Dr DiVicenzo and colleagues, JARA can now set its sights on achieving this".

Website of the Institute for theoretical Quantum Information: Link



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