Harvard University’s Navin Khaneja, assistant professor of electrical engineering in the Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences (DEAS), has received a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Prize from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
Each year, the foundation – a nonprofit established by the Federal Republic of Germany for the promotion of international research cooperation – grants approximately 10 research awards. These awards are given to young scientists and scholars from abroad that are already recognized as outstanding researchers in their fields. An award of up to 55,000 euros has been endowed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in recognition of the award winners’ research achievements to date. The award winners are also invited to work on research projects of their own choice in cooperation with colleagues in Germany for periods of between six months and one year.
Khaneja, who holds a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Harvard, primarily conducts research involving control theory and its applications. He is currently working on developing methods for optimal control of quantum systems. Many scientific tools require control over quantum phenomena, including existing technologies such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy (used to understand the structure and dynamics of proteins) and future innovations such as quantum computers (designed to significantly increase computational power).