Michelle Simmons receives this year’s Erna Hamburger Prize

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 2023 anthonygeernaert.com/
2023 anthonygeernaert.com/

Quantum physicist Michelle Simmons is being awarded the 2023 Erna Hamburger Prize for her brilliant career at the forefront of her field, as well for her commitment to promoting diversity and STEM. An award ceremony will take place today at EPFL.

The EPFL-WISH Foundation has chosen quantum physicist Michelle Simmons for this year’s Erna Hamburger Prize, to be awarded at an EPFL ceremony today.

"Michelle Simmons has been chosen not only for her work and research, but also for her dedication to mentoring, diversity, and STEM promotion," explains Aleksandra Radenovic, president of the foundation. "She has been recognized by multiple organizationsand has received awards such as the Order of Australia and the L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science award. She is also a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion in STEM, regularly speaking out about the importance of providing opportunities and support for women and underrepresented minorities in the field."

Simmons, who will give a lecture at the ceremony about "Atomic Electronics - building qubits in silicon with atomic precision", and the use of precision materials, is pursuing a brilliant career in quantum physics in both research and the private sector. She obtained her degree from Durham University in the Physics and Chemistry of Materials. She pursued her postgraduate studies at St Aidan’s College, her thesis being on high-efficiency solar cells. She continued as a Research Fellow in quantum electronics at the Cavendish Laboratory in the UK, studying the metallic states in very pure transistors, discovering an anomalous feature in the conductance of a one-dimensional quantum wire, now known as the ’0.7 structure’. She received a Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship and moved to Australia, where she was a founding member of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computer Technology. For over two decades, she has held important scientific positions in Australia, from Scientia Professorship at the University of New South Wales to director of the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T). She also founded the Silicon Quantum Computing company in 2017, with ambitious goals that include the creation of an atomic-scale integrated circuit, the development of a 100 Qubit Quantum Processor, and the realization of an error-corrected quantum computer, all of which are firmly rooted in silicon technology.

"This year’s laureate is in the field of quantum computing which is particularly significant as we are currently in the midst of the second quantum revolution, and this field is widely recognized for its transformative potential," continues Radenovic. "With this year’s prize, we wish to highlight how quantum physics has the potential to revolutionize various aspects of our world, including communication, quantum computing, sensors, and new materials. The ceremony is the perfect opportunity to discuss Switzerland’s role as one of the leaders in this field, in the context of EPFL’s Quantum Center. The event will emphasize the challenges in this area, with a particular focus on how Professor Simmons and her work aim to bridge the gap between research and practical applications, ultimately industrializing research results in the field of quantum computing."

About the EPFL-WISH Foundation

The EPFL-WISH Foundation is an independent foundation created through the initiative of EPFL women professors with the aim of promoting women’s careers and advancement in scientific, technical, and humanistic fields.

Since 2006, the foundation has been awarding the Erna Hamburger Prize to distinguish influential, leading women scientists who are transforming their field and executing change. The prize is named after Dr. Erna Hamburger, who was the first woman promoted to the rank of full professor at EPFL, and who continues to inspire students and researchers today.

To attend today’s award ceremony, please register.