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National Science Foundation Awards $273,975 Grant to LVC Researchers
09.24.12 |
The National Science Foundation awarded a three-year, $273,975 grant to the Lebanon Valley College Mathematical Physics Research Group for their project, "Structure and Local Equivalence of Stabilizers and States." This is the third consecutive three-year NSF grant to be earned by the group.

Math professor David Lyons and physics professor Scott Walck lead the student-faculty research team which focuses on quantum information science. Their research studies quantum entanglement, a poorly understood phenomenon that Einstein called "spooky action at a distance" that provides the power for a future generation of quantum computers that will outperform today's most powerful supercomputers in some tasks.

"Our research is especially unusual in the success of our undergraduate research assistants, many of whom participate in obtaining new results in theoretical physics and become co-authors on papers in leading research journals," Lyons said.

Quantum computers will make today's computer security systems obsolete overnight, including the encoding scheme used by web browsers to make secure online purchases with credit cards. Quantum devices will provide new security systems with codes that cannot be broken without breaking the laws of physics. The entanglement research program at LVC is part of the landscape of the new world of quantum theory and technology.

"Understanding entanglement and related properties of physical systems sheds new light on information itself, and opens an exciting new avenue into the very foundations of physics," Walck said.

The group's previous work was published in top physics research journals including "Physical Review Letters," "Quantum Information and Computation," and "Journal of Mathematical Physics." Eight of the 20 LVC student participants have been co-authors with Lyons and Walck.

The National Science Foundation presented $137,000 in its first installment, and will present $68,975 in 2013 and $68,000 in 2014.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2012, its budget is $7.0 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives over 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards nearly $420 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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