King Faisal International Prize (KFIP) recognizes excellence in 5 categories: Service to Islam, Islamic Studies, Arabic Language & Literature, Medicine, and Science, since 1979

Professor Daniel Loss

Winner of the  
2017
KFIP Prize for  
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Topic: Physics

Biography

Nationality: Switzerland

Professor-Daniel-LossProfessor-Daniel-LossProfessor-Daniel-LossProfessor Daniel Loss was born in Winterthur, Switzerland, in 1958. He studied theoretical physics at the University of Zurich (1979-1983) from which he also obtained a Ph. D. in Statistical Mechanics in 1985. His academic career spans around 35 years. He worked first as a Post-doctoral Research Associate at Zurich (1985-1989) then moved to the USA as Post-doctoral Research Fellow (with Nobel Laureate Prof. A. J. Leggett) at the University of Illinois, Urbana (1989-1991) and Research Scientist at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York (1991-1993). Thereafter, he became Assistant Professor then Associate Professor of Physics (1993-1995; 1995-1996, respectively) at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. In 1996, he returned to Basel University as Professor (Ordinarius) of Theoretical Physics and has chaired the Department of Physics three times between 1998 and 2010. He has also served as Co-Director of the Swiss National Center of Competence and Research in Nanoscale Science and is currently Professor of Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics in the Department of Physics at Basel University, Director of the Basel Center for Quantum Computing and Quantum Coherence and Co-Director of the Swiss Nanoscience Institute.

Professor Loss has made seminal contributions to the quantum theory of spin dynamics and spin coherence in semiconductors, and in particular in quantum dots. Together with D.P. DiVincenzo, they proposed the concept of a spin quantum computer of exceptionally high speed and storage capacity, using electron spins trapped in quantum dots as qubits. This and many other ground-breaking predictions by Loss and his team have been confirmed experimentally by other groups around the world and have inspired much further research into the basic physics and practical applications of spin-related phenomena and, in particular, spin qubits in developing powerful quantum computers, and in structures such as semiconducting quantum dots, nanowires, carbon nanotubes, graphene, and molecular magnets. Professor Loss has also made pioneering contributions to low-dimensional interacting systems (discovered new states of matter), to topological quantum memories and topological quantum computing based on Majorana fermions and parafermions.

Professor Loss has authored over 435 papers, with a total Web of Science (Google Scholar) citations of 24,830 (35,720) and an H-index of 73 (85). His accomplishments in the field of solid state quantum information processing have been recognized by more than 415 invited talks at international conferences, and by major awards and honors, namely the Humboldt Research Prize (Germany, 2005), the Marcel Benoist Prize, the highest scientific honor in Switzerland (2010), Simon Distinguished Visiting Scholar KITP (Santa Barbara, 2013) and the Blaise Pascal Medal in Physics from the European Academy of Sciences (2014). He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (2000) and the Institute of Physics (UK, 2005) and an Elected Member of the European Academy of Sciences (2013) and the German Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina (2014).

Professor Daniel Loss is a pioneer in the theory of spin dynamics and spin coherence in quantum dots showing promise for practical applications in spin quantum computers. The idea is to use the spin rather than the charge of electrons trapped in quantum dots as quantum bits. His work has inspired many important experimental programs. Professor Loss’ contributions open the door to powerful spintronic quantum computers with exceptional speed and storage capacity.

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