It from Qubit: Alumni
Fernando Pastawski was a postdoctoral scholar at the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM) in the research group of Professor John Preskill at California Technical Institute. He obtained his Ph.D. summa cum laude from the Ludwig Maximilian University, Germany, in 2012, working with Ignacio Cirac at the Max-Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (MPQ). For his doctoral work on quantum memories and applications, he was granted the Otto-Hahn medal by the Max-Planck society.
His research lies at the interface of quantum information and many-body physics. He has made important contributions in the area of quantum memory and quantum error-correcting codes, as well as characterizing the logical quantum gates that can be robustly implemented. He has also helped shed light on the classification of phases. Recently, he has introduced an explicit tensor-network-based family of quantum error-correcting code that embody the information theoretic structure of holography. Through the use of tensor network descriptions, he continues to pursue connections between quantum gravity and quantum information.
Joe Polchinski is the Yzurdiaga Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a permanent member of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP). He obtained his Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley, in 1980. After postdocs at SLAC and Harvard, he was at the University of Texas at Austin from 1984 to 1992, before moving to the KITP. Polchinski is a fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been awarded the Dannie Heineman Prize in Mathematical Physics of the APS, the Dirac Medal of the ICTP, and the 2013 and 2014 Physics Frontiers Prize.
Polchinski works broadly in theoretical physics, including quantum field theory, string theory and gravity. His research is largely centered on the search for a theory of quantum gravity, building on the principle of AdS/CFT duality and on thought experiments such as the black hole information paradox. The firewall argument has revealed limits in our understanding and suggested many new directions. A key question is whether the framework of quantum mechanics needs to be modified in gravity. His current work focuses on connections among holography, quantum error correction, entanglement and quantum chaos.