After completing his undergraduate degree in physics from Bates College, Steven Girvin earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1977 and trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Indiana University and Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg, Sweden. He went on to work as a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology from 1979 to 1987, before joining the faculty of Indiana University in 1987.
Girvin joined the Yale faculty in 2001. From 2007 to 2017 he served as Yale’s deputy provost for research In that role, he helped oversee research and strategic planning in the basic sciences and engineering across the university. He also helped oversee entrepreneurship, innovation and tech transfer at Yale.
Throughout his career, Girvin’s research has focused on theoretical studies of quantum many-particle systems, quantum optics and quantum computation. He is a co-developer of ‘circuit QED,’ the leading architecture for construction of a quantum computer based on superconducting microwave circuits.
Girvin has been elected fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. In 2007 he and his collaborators Allan H. MacDonald and James P. Eisenstein were awarded the Oliver E. Buckley Prize of the American Physical Society, for “fundamental experimental and theoretical research on correlated many-electron states in low dimensional systems.” In 2017 Girvin was awarded an honorary degree by Chalmers University of Technology in recognition of his work in circuit QED.