K. Birgitta Whaley


(510) 643-6820
219 Gilman Hall
Professor of Chemical Physics; Director, Berkeley Quantum Information and Computation Center
  • Born 1956
  • B.A. Oxford University (1978)
  • Nuffield Scholar (1974-78)
  • Kennedy Fellow, Harvard University (1978-79)
  • M. Sc. (1982), Ph.D. University of Chicago (1984)
  • Golda Meir Fellow, Hebrew University, Jerusalem (1984-85)
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, Tel Aviv University (1985-86)
  • Bergmann Award (1986); A. P. Sloan Foundation Fellow (1991-93)
  • Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist (1996-97)
  • Fellow, American Physical Society (2002)
  • Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science Professor, University of California, Berkeley (2002-2003)
  • Maria Goeppert-Mayer Lecturer, UC San Diego (2005)
  • Vice Chair, Chair Elect, Chair, Division of Chemical Physics, APS (2009-2011)
  • Scientific Advisory Committee, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Waterloo (2010-2013)
  • Senior Fellow, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2012-2013)
  • Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar (2013-2014)
  • Quantum Frontiers Distinguished Lecturer, University of Waterloo (2014)
  • Advisory Board, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara (2014-2017)
  • Albrecht Lecturer, Cornell University (2015)
  • Editorial Boards: Chemical Physics (1996-)
  • Journal of Physical Chemistry (1998-2003)
  • Quantum Information Processing (2005-)
  • Journal of Chemical Physics (2010-2012)
  • European Physical Journal (EPJ) Quantum Technology (2013-)
  • Advances in Physics X (2014-)

Quantum Physics, Molecular Quantum Mechanics, and Quantum Information

Professor Whaley's research is at the interfaces of chemistry with physics and with biology. Her work is broadly focused on quantum information and quantum computation, control and simulation of complex quantum systems, and quantum effects in biological systems. Quantum information processing employs superposition, entanglement, and probabilistic measurement to encode and manipulate information in very different ways from the classical information processing underlying current electronic technology. Theoretical research of Professor Whaley's group in this area is focused in quantum control, quantum information and quantum measurement, analysis and simulation of open quantum systems, macroscopic quantum states and quantum metrology. Specific topics of current interest include quantum feedback control, quantum reservoir engineering, topological quantum computation, and analysis of macroscopic quantum superpositions in interacting many-body systems. Such superposition states, dramatically illustrated by Schrodinger's famous cat paradox, offer unprecedented opportunities for precision measurements. Professor Whaley's recent research in quantum biology seeks to characterize and understand the role of quantum dynamical effects in biological systems, with a perspective that combines physical intuition and detailed quantum simulation with insights from various branches of quantum science – quantum physics, molecular quantum mechanics and quantum information.