Graeme Smith named APS Fellow

Thursday, October 26, 2023
Headshot of Graeme Smith

Congratulations to Dr. Graeme Smith, associate professor of Applied Mathematics, who was elected a Fellow of American Physical Society (APS) this month. The APS has more than 50,000 members, and works “to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics” throughout the United States and the world.

The Fellows represent no more than one half of one percent of Society membership each year, acknowledging “individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise.”

Smith, who joined the University of Waterloo this July, is part of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), where he studies the theory of information and how it can be encoded and processed in quantum systems. Prior to coming to Waterloo, he was director of the Center for the Theory of Quantum Matter at the University of Colorado Boulder in the United States.

Smith received recognition from the APS for “fundamental contributions on quantum channel capacities including proving continuity, elucidating the phenomenon of superactivation and for providing a classification of all the additive entropic formulas.”

For Smith’s research group in the IQC, he says, “Quantum information theory is so different and new that often the hardest part is asking the right very simple questions.” Nevertheless, he says, “working with and getting to know some of the most curious, fun-loving and creative people there are” has been a highlight of his time so far at Waterloo.

Smith is grateful to his mentors from throughout his career: Charlie Bennett, John Smolin, John Preskill, Debbie Leung and Andreas Winter. He is also particularly thankful for having enthusiastic and talented students and postdocs who have collaborated with him on research.

“It feels great to see that my peers appreciate what I’m doing,” he says of becoming an APS Fellow. “The citation specifically recognized my work on quantum channel capacities, which I really like, because I think work on the fundamentals of quantum information theory (like capacities) has been a bit underappreciated in the field. To me it’s one of the most beautiful areas out there, so seeing it recognized specifically was very satisfying.”

Learn more in the Institute for Quantum Computing’s story, and by visiting the APS website.