The American Physical Society has elected Professor Sophia Economou of the Virginia Tech Department of Physics as a 2023 fellow.

The fellowship program recognizes members who have made exceptional contributions to physics research, the applications of physics, leadership in or service to the field, or significant contributions to physics education, according to the society’s website. Each year, no more than one half of 1 percent of the society membership is recognized as a fellow.

Economou, a member of the Virginia Tech College of Science faculty, was honored “for the development of quantum optimization methods, protocols for the generation of photonic resource states, efficient quantum control schemes for spins and nuclei, and a quantum curriculum for young researchers.”

Economou recently was named the T. Marshall Hahn Chair in Physics by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

Since joining Virginia Tech in 2015, she has played a key role in establishing a cross-disciplinary quantum information science program at Virginia Tech. She directs the university’s Center for Quantum Information Science and Engineering, and her research has received more than $5 million in federal funding.

Economou’s research examines theoretical quantum information science, exploring how the behavior of physics at the quantum level can unlock unprecedented computational power and processing speed with vast implications for the future of communications and computing.

“This is a well-deserved honor for Sophia,” said Mark Pitt, professor and chair of the Department of Physics. “It not only acknowledges the significant impact of her outstanding research program in the field of quantum information science but also highlights her major role in making the excitement of the field accessible to high school students and first year undergraduate students."

Economou serves as the vice chair of the American Physical Society's Division of Quantum Information. Her scholarship includes more than 110 publications in peer-reviewed journals and more than 100 invited or keynote presentations at professional conferences. Her publications have received more than 5,500 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 contributions to the field of quantum algorithms. 

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