Elizabeth Bennewitz, a first-year physics graduate student at JQI and QuICS, has been named a finalist for a 2022 Hertz Fellowship. Out of more than 650 applicants, Bennewitz is one of 45 finalists with a chance of receiving up to $250,000 in support from the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation.

The fellowships provide up to five years of funding for recipients pursuing a Ph.D. The foundation seeks(link is external) individuals who intend to tackle “major, near-term problems facing society.”Elizabeth Bennewitz (credit:  Dan Spencer)Elizabeth Bennewitz (credit: Dan Spencer)

“This whole group of finalists have accomplished so much, and I’m very humbled to be among other people starting their Ph.D.s who are also pursuing big problems in science,” says Bennewitz. “I'm very honored to be part of this finalist group.”

Bennewitz is working with JQI and QuICS Fellow Alexey Gorshkov and is interested in researching large collections of interacting quantum particles—what scientists call many-body quantum systems. These systems are important to understanding cutting-edge physics and quantum computer technologies and can also be the basis of simulations that could provide insights into complex problems in physics, material science and chemistry.

“During my PhD, I want to develop tools and techniques that help harness the computational power of quantum devices in order to simulate these large quantum many-body systems,” Bennewitz says. “I’m excited to be pursuing this research at Maryland because of its commitment to quantum information and quantum computing research as well as its rich collaboration between theorists and experimentalists.”

Bennewitz is just at the beginning of her graduate student career, but she has already started investigating how quantum simulators might be used to understand the interactions of the particles that are responsible for holding the nuclei of atoms together.

“I'm very happy for Elizabeth, and I'm honored and excited that she chose to work with my group,” Gorshkov says.

An announcement of the winning fellows is expected to be made in May.

“I'm very thankful for all the opportunities I had before I got here,” Bennewitz says. “I would not be where I am today without the support and guidance I received from my professors and peers at Bowdoin College and Perimeter.”

Original story by Bailey Bedford: https://jqi.umd.edu/news/jqi-graduate-student-finalist-hertz-fellowship