Birgitta Whaley


Born March 20, 1956 in Barnehurst, England.

Professor of Chemistry, and Director, Berkeley Quantum Information and Computation Center, University of California, Berkeley, USA.
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Sloan Foundation Fellow (1991); Alexander von Humboldt Senior Fellow (1996); Fellow of the American Physical Society (2002); Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin Senior Fellow (2012); Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2018)

Author of:

Over 240 papers in quantum science, including quantum dynamics, quantum mechanics of nanoscale systems, nanosuperfluids, quantum information, quantum computation, quantum control, and quantum biology.

Important Contributions:

  • Quantum information/computation: discovery of decoherence-free subspaces, universal exchange based quantum computation, the relation between quantum random walks and quantum algorithms - with proof for generation of an unstructured quantum search algorithm - geometric theory of two-qubit operations, complete characterization of perfect entangling operations, minimal gate count for universal quantum circuits, development of measurement-based quantum feedback for quantum state generation and for continuous quantum error correction, error correction of quantum annealing for quantum optimization.
  • Quantum Biology: discovery of quantum entanglement in light harvesting step of photosynthesis, long-range quantum ratcheting of excitonic energy under light harvesting conditions and long-range coherent energy transport in Photosystem II, establishment of time scale for absorption of single photons by light harvesting systems, full quantum theory of single photon absorption and excitonic energy transfer in photosynthetic systems, relation between coherent quantum dynamics and biological function.
  • Nanoscale superfluids: characterization of size-dependence collective excitations of helium clusters, prediction of local non-superfluid solvation layer around rotating molecules.