Episode 82 – Dr. Prineha Narang

Dr. Prineha Narang is an Assistant Professor at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. She leads an interdisciplinary group at Harvard SEAS at the intersection of computational science, phenomena away from equilibrium, and quantum dynamics in matter. She has won numerous awards, fellowships, and grants including Forbes “30 Under 30”. She has a PhD and Master’s Degree in Applied Physics from California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and did her post-doctoral work at MIT.

Episode Notes

Dr. Pri Narang shares her experiences as an Assistant Professor at Harvard University, a researcher, and a CTO in the field of Quantum Physics and Quantum Theory. She also shares what that is…and how she got interested in it and her journey from having an interest in Physics – she says she’s always been a physicist, even at a young age – to how she started the Narang Lab. She shares what a day in her life is like, how she manages to juggle the many demands of her professional career and run marathons and Ironman Triathlons – she’s an absolute rockstar. She also talks about having imposter syndrome and how finding a place that was welcoming led her down her career path.

Dr. Narang will join UCLA’s faculty in the College of Physical Sciences as the Howard Reiss Chair on July 1st. This information came out after our podcast recording. Information on her transition can be found here. https://www.chemistry.ucla.edu/news/faculty-news-4

Music used in the podcast: Higher Up, Silverman Sound Studio

Acronyms, Definitions, and Fact Check

Quantum theory describes the behavior of things — particles or energy — on the smallest scale. In addition to wavicles, it predicts that a particle may be found in many places at the same time. (https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/quantum-world-mind-bogglingly-weird)

Quantum mechanics is a fundamental theory in physics that provides a description of the physical properties of nature at the scale of atoms and subatomic particles. It is the foundation of all quantum physics including quantum chemistry, quantum field theory, quantum technology, and quantum information science. Classical physics, the collection of theories that existed before the advent of quantum mechanics, describes many aspects of nature at an ordinary (macroscopic) scale, but is not sufficient for describing them at small (atomic and subatomic) scales. Most theories in classical physics can be derived from quantum mechanics as an approximation valid at large (macroscopic) scale. Quantum mechanics differs from classical physics in that energy, momentum, angular momentum, and other quantities of a bound system are restricted to discrete values (quantization), objects have characteristics of both particles and waves (wave–particle duality), and there are limits to how accurately the value of a physical quantity can be predicted prior to its measurement, given a complete set of initial conditions (the uncertainty principle). (Wikipedia)

Low-dimensional materials (LDMs) are those that have at least one dimension small enough (at the nanoscale) for the physical properties of the material lay somewhere between that of individual atoms and the bulk material. (https://research.njit.edu/ldm/research)

Quantum entanglement is the physical phenomenon that occurs when a group of particles are generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in a way such that the quantum state of each particle of the group cannot be described independently of the state of the others, including when the particles are separated by a large distance. The topic of quantum entanglement is at the heart of the disparity between classical and quantum physics: entanglement is a primary feature of quantum mechanics lacking in classical mechanics. (Wikipedia)

dilution refrigerator is a cryogenic device first proposed by Heinz London. Its refrigeration process uses amixture of two isotopes of helium: helium-3 and helium-4. When cooled below approximately 870 millikelvin, themixture undergoes spontaneous phase separation to form a 3He-rich phase and a 3He-poor phase. As with evaporative cooling, energy is required to transport 3He atoms from the 3He-rich phase into the 3He-poorphase. If the atoms can be made to continuously cross this boundary, they effectively cool the mixture. Becausethe 3He-poor phase cannot have less than 6% helium-3 at equilibrium, even at absolute zero, dilution refrigerationcan be effective at very low temperatures. The volume in which this takes place is known as the mixing chamber.The simplest application is a “single-shot” dilution refrigerator. In single-shot mode, a large initial reservoir ofhelium-3 is gradually moved across the boundary into the 3He-poor phase. Once the 3He is all in the 3He-poorphase, the refrigerator cannot continue to operate.More commonly, dilution refrigerators run in a continuous cycle. The 3He / 4He mixture is liquified in a condenser, which is connected through an impedance to the 3He-rich area of the mixing chamber. Atoms of 3He migrateacross into the 3He-poor phase, providing cooling power, and then into a still where the liquid 3He evaporates. Outside the refrigerator, this gas is pumped up to a higher pressure and usually purified, and finally returns to thecondenser to start the cycle again. (https://en-academic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/249751)

In physics, the no-cloning theorem states that it is impossible to create an independent and identical copy of an arbitrary unknown quantum state, a statement which has profound implications in the field of quantum computing among others. The theorem is an evolution of the 1970 no-go theoremauthored by James Park, in which he demonstrates that a non-disturbing measurement scheme which is both simple and perfect cannot exist (the same result would be independently derived in 1982 by Wootters and Zurek as well as Dieks the same year). The aforementioned theorems do not preclude the state of one system becoming entangled with the state of another as cloning specifically refers to the creation of a separable state with identical factors. For example, one might use the controlled NOT gate and the Walsh–Hadamard gate to entangle two qubits without violating the no-cloning theorem as no well-defined state may be defined in terms of a subsystem of an entangled state. The no-cloning theorem (as generally understood) concerns only pure states whereas the generalized statement regarding mixed states is known as the no-broadcast theorem. (Wikipedia)

%d bloggers like this: