Sophia Economou, professor of physics in the Virginia Tech College of Science and director of the university’s Center for Quantum Information Science and Engineering, has been named the T. Marshall Hahn Chair in Physics by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The T. Marshall Hahn Jr. Chair in Physics was established by a generous gift from its namesake to attract and retain eminent scholars. Hahn served as the 11th president of Virginia Tech from 1962-74. During his transformative presidency, he led the evolution of Virginia Tech from a college to a comprehensive major research university.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2015, Economou’s research examines theoretical quantum information science, which is of worldwide current interest due to the technological revolution it can enable in communications and computing.

She leads an active research group of more than 10 graduate students and nine postdoctoral fellows. She has created three new courses in this field and led the creation of a minor in quantum science and engineering to bring the interest and promise of this field to a wide range of students.

Economou’s scholarship includes more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals and more than 70 invited or keynote presentations at professional conferences. Her publications have received more than 4,000 citations to date. She has established a global reputation for her scholarship, particularly the ability to inform and guide the work of experimentalists in quantum information processing and her recent contribution to the field of quantum algorithms. Her most impactful work to date has been done after joining Virginia Tech.

Since coming to Virginia Tech, Economou has been principal investigator or co-principal investigator on 20 grants with a personal share of $4.5 million from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Army Research Office, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, otherwise known as DARPA. She is a member of the Co-Design Center for Quantum Advantage, a Department of Energy center led by Brookhaven National Lab.

Economou earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Crete and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego.

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