Schumacher named APS fellowIn recognition of his contributions to the field of quantum information theory, Professor of Physics Benjamin Schumacher has been named a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS). The fellowship program recognizes those who have made advances in knowledge through original research and publication, as well as those who have made significant and innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology. Each year, no more than one-half of 1 percent of the current APS membership are recognized by their peers for election to the status of fellow.
Schumacher's research involves theoretical work in the emerging field of quantum information science, which draws on quantum mechanics, information theory, computer science, and other areas to explore new possibilities in the acquisition, transmission, and processing of information. The field's development depends, in part, on the relentless miniaturization of electronic circuitry, which offers the prospect of information-processing devices that function on an atomic scale.
At this level, quantum effects-for instance, the tendency for atoms to behave as if they were in several different places at the same time-can be exploited to perform extraordinary information-processing tasks. For example, according to a National Science Foundation report, quantum effects have already led to the creation of unbreakable codes. Scientists also imagine a "quantum computer" that could easily perform some computations that would take today's supercomputers "longer than the age of the universe," says the report.
In 2002, Schumacher won the Fourth International Award on Quantum Communication, the premier scientific honor in the field. Schumacher, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, has taught at Kenyon since 1988. In addition to teaching physics courses at every level, pursuing research, and overseeing student research projects, he has directed and taught in the College's interdisciplinary scientific computing program.
The APS was founded at Columbia University in 1899. The society represents more than 40,000 members in national, international, and governmental affairs. In addition to conducting meetings and sponsoring career-development initiatives, the society publishes some of the world's most prestigious and widely read physics research journals.