Connecticut Medal of Science goes to Yale’s Robert Schoelkopf

Yale’s Robert Schoelkopf, Sterling Professor of Applied Physics and Physics and director of the Yale Quantum Institute, was awarded the 2017 Connecticut Medal of Science for his seminal contributions to the field of quantum science and to the new field of circuit quantum electrodynamics. The Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) announced the honor.

The Medal of Science is Connecticut’s highest honor for scientific achievement in fields crucial to the state’s economic competitiveness and social well-being. It is modeled after the National Medal of Science and is bestowed on behalf of the State of Connecticut in alternating years with the Connecticut Medal of Technology.

Schoelkopf is a leading experimental physicist whose research has helped establish the field of quantum computation with solid-state devices. Together with his Yale collaborators Michel Devoret and Steven Girvin, Schoelkopf has pioneered the approach of integrating superconducting qubits with microwave cavities, known as Circuit Quantum Electrodynamics. This Yale architecture, in which quantum information can be distributed by microwave signals on wires, is widely believed to be the most scalable path to useful quantum computers in the near future, and has been adopted by a majority of other groups. Some of Schoelkopf’s other inventions include the Radio Frequency Single-Electron Transistor and the Shot Noise Thermometer.

“The state of Connecticut is proud to award the Connecticut Medal of Science to Robert Schoelkopf, who has made pioneering contributions to the field of quantum science,” said Governor Dannel P. Malloy. “I am particularly pleased that Rob, a world leader in this field, is right here in Connecticut.”

The academy noted that in addition to his scientific achievements, Schoelkopf is a dedicated adviser and mentor to graduate and postdoctoral students. He currently supervises five postdoctoral scholars and 11 graduate students, and has mentored an additional 30 post-undergraduate scholars and students previously. Schoelkopf is regularly called on to advise industry and federal agencies on the development and commercialization of quantum technologies, and he is a co-founder of Quantum Circuits, Inc., a Connecticut-based company working to deliver the first quantum computers.

Schoelkopf earned a Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering. He has received numerous awards and honors including recognition as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society. Schoelkopf has authored 145 papers in the field.

Schoelkopf will be honored at the CASE annual meeting and dinner, to be held May 22 at the University of Connecticut campus in Storrs.

Previous Yale winners of the Connecticut Medal of Science include Joan A. Steitz in 2015 and Nobel laureate Thomas Steitz in 2013.