20 March 2024

Ignacio Cirac receives honorary doctorate from the University of Nebrija

"Quantum physics will remain to be an inexhaustible source of scientific and technological progress in the coming century.”

Ignacio Cirac, Director of the Theory Department at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Nebrija in Madrid for his pioneering work in the field of quantum science. His work on the principles and applications of quantum physics, such as in quantum information theory or the simulation of complex many-body systems, as well as his overall scientific achievements would contribute to revolutionising the world as we know it today, explained the university. The investiture took place in Madrid on Tuesday 19 March 2024 as part of a formal ceremony accompanied by various laudatory speeches and in the presence of students from the university. It is the ninth honorary doctorate that Ignacio Cirac has been recognised with to date.

"Quantum physics will remain to be an inexhaustible source of scientific and technological progress in the coming century," said Ignacio Cirac in his speech on the occasion of his investiture. As we have often seen in the past, many new areas of application only emerge in the further development of a new technology and are sometimes unforeseeable. This is also the case with quantum technologies. "Even if we can't imagine them yet, quantum science will surprise us with a number of discoveries in the days to come."

A particular challenge for current research is the development of efficient methods for simulating quantum many-body systems – a field whose big experiemental advances today (such as in Immanuel Bloch's group at MPQ) is due not at least to the theoretical description and preliminary work of Ignacio Cirac.

To date, his work has been cited more than a hundred thousand times, ten thousand times in the past year alone. "A score hardly possible to surpass for theoretical physicists" - said Rolf Tarrach, Spanish physicist, co-laudator of the ceremony and friend of Ignacio Cirac, who also expressed some kind and personal words: "It's impossible not to feel comfortable around him. He is friendly, precise, dicreet, attentive, modest, thoughtful and understands almost instantly. He is always ready to help and give advice without any obligation".

Ignacio Cirac with his mother at the ceremony of his most recent honorary doctorate. © Zaida del Río / Universidad Nebrija
Ignacio Cirac himself expressed special gratitude to his parents for their "tireless support": "They taught me that the most important legacy is education." He also thanked the University of Nebrija, which was one of the first universities to introduce a Master's programme in quantum computing and thus played a pioneering role, as well as his current and former colleagues, alumni and alumnae and, in return, Rolf Tarrach, Director Emeritus of the University of Luxembourg and patron of the University of Nebrija, for his friendship and generosity.

The "Universidad Nebrija" is a private, state-recognised university headquartered in Madrid. It was founded in 1995 and today registers 12,000 students from 56 countries. Its honorary doctorate to Ignacio Cirac is now the ninth doctoris honoris causa to be awarded to him. The previous, he received in 2022 from the University of À Coruna.

Ignacio Cirac currently holds an impressive list of high-ranking prizes and honours as well as memberships of various scientific academies. Among the prizes are the Wolf Prize in Physics (2013), the Benjamin Franklin Medal (2010), the BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award (2008), the Prince of Asturias Award (2006), the Carl Zeiss Prize (2009), the Niels Bohr Medal (2013) and many others. More information about his awards (selection) and his person and research can be found here: www.mpq.mpg.de/ignacio-cirac

Source of this article: https://www.nebrija.com/medios/actualidadnebrija/2024/03/20/juan-ignacio-cirac-investido-doctor-honoris-causa-por-la-universidad-nebrija/

Source: MPQ website

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