Narang recognized by the American Physical Society for QSC-supported science

Prineha Narang

Prineha Narang

November 14, 2022

Article courtesy of the University of California, Los Angeles

Written by David Templeton

Prineha Narang of the University of California, Los Angeles has been awarded the American Physical Society’s 2023 Maria Goeppert Mayer Award for Quantum Science Center-supported work on dynamics in quantum matter.

The award, named after a pioneering theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate in Physics, was established in 1985 to recognize early-career female physicists. Each year, the recipient presents her scientific achievements through a series of public lectures.

“I am delighted to join such a distinguished list of scientists who have won the Maria Goeppert Mayer Award in the past,” Narang said. “I am particularly excited about giving the public lecture and having the opportunity to share with the audience why researchers in our group think non-equilibrium dynamics and quantum materials are not only fundamentally important, but also technologically relevant and exciting.”

The citation for Narang reads, “for pioneering the development of ab initio computational physics approaches to light-matter coupling and non-equilibrium dynamics and their application to the understanding, prediction and design of quantum materials.”

The QSC, a U.S. Department of Energy National Quantum Information Science Research Center headquartered at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, supports her group, NarangLab, which focuses on theoretical and computational physics approaches to predict new states and collective modes of quantum matter.

As part of this QSC-supported research, her predictions led to the discovery and understanding of a previously undetectable quantum excitation, the axial Higgs mode, and mechanisms for the dynamical control of order parameters in correlated quantum materials.

Before joining UCLA earlier this year, Narang was an assistant professor at Harvard University. NarangLab, which was founded at Harvard, will also make the move to UCLA. Previously, she worked as an environmental fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment and a research scholar in condensed matter theory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She received a master’s degree and doctorate in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology.

Narang has won other awards including the Outstanding Early Career Investigator Award from the Materials Research Society, the Mildred Dresselhaus Prize from APS, the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, a Max Planck Award from the Max Planck Society, the Young Scientist Prize in Computational Physics from the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, and a National Science Foundation award through the Faculty Early Career Development Program.

She has also been named a Moore Inventor Fellow by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, an Innovator Under 35 by the MIT Technology Review, and a member of the Young Scientists community by the World Economic Forum.

Narang will deliver her Maria Goeppert Mayer lectures in 2023 on topics related to non-equilibrium physics of quantum matter.

The QSC, a DOE National Quantum Information Science Research Center led by ORNL, performs cutting-edge research at national laboratories, universities, and industry partners to overcome key roadblocks in quantum state resilience, controllability, and ultimately the scalability of quantum technologies. QSC researchers are designing materials that enable topological quantum computing; implementing new quantum sensors to characterize topological states and detect dark matter; and designing quantum algorithms and simulations to provide a greater understanding of quantum materials, chemistry, and quantum field theories. These innovations enable the QSC to accelerate information processing, explore the previously unmeasurable, and better predict quantum performance across technologies. For more information, visit