In the middle of the 20th century, mathematicians, physicists, and engineers at Harvard began work that would lay the foundations for a new field of study, the applications of which would change the world in ways unimaginable at the time. These pioneering computer scientists helped develop the theory and technology that would usher in the digital age.
Harvard is once again taking a leading role in a scientific and technological revolution — this time in the field of quantum science and engineering. Today, the University launched one of the world’s first Ph.D. programs in the subject, providing the foundational education for the next generation of innovators and leaders who will transform quantum science and engineering into next-level systems, devices, and applications.
The new degree is the latest step in the University’s commitment to moving forward as both a leader in research and an innovator in teaching in the field of quantum science and engineering. Harvard launched the Harvard Quantum Initiative in 2018 to foster and grow this new scientific community. And additional future plans call for the creation of a quantum hub on campus to help further integrate efforts and encourage collaboration.
“This is a pivotal time for quantum science and engineering at Harvard,” said President Larry Bacow. “With institutional collaborators including MIT and industry partners, and the support of generous donors, we are making extraordinary progress in discovery and innovation. Our faculty and students are driving progress that will reshape our world through quantum computing, networking, cryptography, materials, and sensing, as well as emerging areas of promise that will yield advances none of us can yet imagine.”
“This cross disciplinary Ph.D. program will prepare our students to become the leaders and innovators in the emerging field of quantum science and engineering,” said Emma Dench, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. “Harvard’s interdisciplinary strength and intellectual resources make it the perfect place for them to develop their ideas, grow as scholars, and make discoveries that will change the world.”
At the nexus of physics, chemistry, computer science, and electrical engineering, quantum science and technology promises to profoundly change the way we acquire, process, and communicate information. Imagine a computer that could sequence a person’s genome in a matter of seconds or an un-hackable communications system that could make data breaches a thing of the past. Quantum technology will usher in game-changing innovations in health care, infrastructure, security, drug development, climate-change prediction, machine learning, financial services, and more.