Ninth Humboldt Professorship for FAU

The picture shows Prof. Dirk Englund
Prof. Dirk Englund (Image: Rob Chron)Rob Chron

Physicist Prof. Dirk Englund has been selected for the most prestigious international research prize in Germany

It is the ninth Humboldt Professorship for Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) and the sixth in a row for the University: physicist Prof. Dirk Englund has been selected by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for the most prestigious international research prize in Germany. FAU and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light (MPL) nominated Englund for the Humboldt Professorship. The prize, worth up to five million euros, will be awarded to Englund in 2023 after the negotiations for the appointment have been completed.

FAU is one of the universities with the most Humboldt professorships. “We want to appoint top-class international researchers with excellent opportunities and are therefore very pleased that we can repeatedly nominate candidates whose qualifications manage to convince the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. We can be very proud of the sixth Humboldt professorship in a row and the ninth one in total,” says FAU President Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger. “Dirk Englund meets all the criteria for a Humboldt professorship: He is a top researcher at a top university, and in addition to the offer of a full professorship at FAU, the offer of a position as a director of the Max Planck Institute makes the whole package very appealing,” he continues.

Bridging fundamental and applied research

New deep learning methods define machine learning in research and industry. In quantum computing, special processors perform operations in areas that conventional computers cannot. Quantum computers work with quantum bits, or qubits for short. They can simultaneously represent “zero” or “one” or any states in between. This means they are more efficient than conventional computers with the ability to perform several operations simultaneously.

Englund is a pioneer in the field of complex photonic systems and their application in machine learning and quantum technology. His work includes everything from theoretical research and the development of computer architectures to manufacturing advanced quantum devices and systems. His work on the development of large-scale integrated photonic circuits for processing information is ground-breaking. The results of his research are used in applications such as data processing, sensor systems, communication, and more recently, in artificial intelligence. Dirk Englund also uses his expertise in industry: He is co-founder of the quantum computing company QuEra Computing, security firm Dust Identity, and scientific advisor to the LightMatter company, which specializes in revolutionizing high-performance computing in machine learning processes.

“Dirk Englund is the best in his field and FAU and the Max Planck Institute will offer him excellent opportunities for his research. With Englund on board, we will be able to take quantum technology in Germany to a whole new level. This is particularly true for innovation in quantum physics and engineering,” says Hornegger.

About Professor Englund

Dirk Englund is Associate Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA. After gaining a degree in physics and electronics in the USA and the Netherlands, he completed a doctorate degree at Stanford University, USA. Positions at other universities took him back to the USA to become a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University as well as an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and of Applied Physics at Columbia University. His numerous awards include the ACS Photonics Young Investigator Award and the Adolph Lomb Medal of the Optical Society in 2017, a Bose Research Scholarship in 2018 and a Humboldt Research Fellowship in 2020.

About the Humboldt Professorship

With funding of up to five million euros, Alexander von Humboldt Professorships not only provide optimum financing but also maximum flexibility for carrying out top-level research in Germany. The aim of the most prestigious international research prize in Germany is to attract the newly-selected winners to institutions in the country for the long term. The prize will be awarded to the internationally renowned scientists in 2023 when they have successfully concluded the appointment negotiations with the German universities who nominated them.

An overview of all Humboldt Professorships at FAU and their fields of research is available on this website.

Further information

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