October 6, 2022

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The Oscar of Science for Physics for Sicilian scientist Anna Grassellino

Italian Anna Grassellino, of Fermilab, is the recipient of the Breakthrough Prize for Physics, one of the Academy Awards in science, considered to be among the most internationally coveted science awards, almost on par with the Nobel Prize.

The award was designed by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, whose founders were business tycoons Sergey Brin, Priscilla Chan, Mark Zuckerberg, Ann Wojcicki, Yuri and Julia Milner, divided into five categories, each awarded three million. Other winners include researchers Demis Hassabis and John Jumper. who used the AlphaFold AI system to study the structure of proteins, and Charles H. Bennett, Gilles Brassard, David Deutsch and Peter Shor in their research on quantum information.

Grassellino was honored for his contribution to the research on particle accelerators. “From the largest particle accelerators to quantum devices, I have had the opportunity to contribute to the development of technologies that will open new scientific horizons,” says Grassellino, who thanks his team at the center for superconducting quantum materials (Sqms, Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems from Fermilab, DOE). American (Doe), “which allowed me to work at the frontiers of science” and the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (Infn), where she began her scientific career.

“I congratulate Anna on this new and important recognition of scientific and managerial merit, and her work on the frontiers of scientific and technological research,” comments Antonio Zucoli, President of Infn. “The contribution that Anna made to the field of accelerator physics before, and which is now leading to the quantum computing sector, in fact, can open up new scenarios both in research in fundamental physics, and in areas of application of interest and potential potential impact . . for society,” he notes. Zucoli.
Grassellino, born in Sicily, studied in Marsala, electronic engineering at the University of Pisa. He began his career at Infn and later earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania before joining Fermilab in 2012. His area of ​​research is superconducting radiofrequency (Srf) technology at the heart of modern particle accelerators, important to improve their performance and to open up new applications, such as those related to quantitative information.

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One of the missions of the Sqms Center, which he directs, is to design and build the most powerful quantum computer ever: a collaborative effort of 20 institutions including Infn, the project’s only non-US partner. A fundamental challenge is being able to extend the life of the information units of quantum computers (quibits) and for this purpose Srf cavities, created for particle accelerators, look promising. In this regard, Infn plans to build a laboratory for qubit tests in an ultra-low radioactivity environment at Gran Sasso National Laboratories. Advances in quantum computing could lead to revolutions in particle physics but also in other fields, such as biology, medicine, energy, finance and security.

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