Igor Pikovski
Igor Pikovski. Image courtesy of The Branco Weiss Fellowship


Where are you from?

I grew up in Berlin but was born in Russia. We moved to Germany when I was 6 years old. The last five years I lived in the US.

Tell us briefly about your career

After finishing my PhD at the University of Vienna, I moved to the US where I was first a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and then an Assistant Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology. My undergraduate degree is from the Free University of Berlin, but I was also fortunate to study physics in a variety of places. During my stay at the University of California Santa Barbara I came in contact with quantum optics research at the interface with gravity, which has become my main research interest since. And my Erasmus studies at Uppsala University introduced me to Sweden for the first time.

How come you chose to work at Fysikum, Stockholm University?

There are many great groups at Fysikum and in the AlbaNova environment. It is a very stimulating and lively research environment, especially if one is interested in a broad range of research questions. And it is particularly exciting to establish a new quantum theory group in collaboration with Frank Wilczek, who recently started a group in Stockholm.

What are your research plans for your future in Sweden?

I am excited about all aspects of quantum research and plan to explore applied and fundamental questions. I like studying quantum physics and quantum systems in new regimes, where we might not have tested the theory or explored novel applications. One of the goals is to study effects of gravity in quantum physics, with research projects ranging from tests of general relativity to tests of quantum gravity and dynamics on curved space-times. Quantum optics and quantum information science are very versatile with relevance to many fields. It will be exciting to explore them and their many applications, in lockstep with the tremendous experimental advancements.

Which of your skills are you most proud of?

Getting excited about new ideas outside my field, even though I don't understand much.


What do you hope to see accomplished scientifically in the next 50 years?

If I had to choose one fundamental and one applied accomplishment: Experimental verification of quantum gravity and a fault-tolerant quantum computer.