Markus Greiner, a Principal Investigator associated with the Center for Ultracold Atoms and Associate Professor Physics at Harvard, is the recipient of the MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellowship. His award was announced by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation on October 4. As the Harvard press release said: “…. (he is) among 22 recipients from a variety of fields to be recognized by the foundation for their originality and dedication to their chosen fields. The annual awards are no-strings-attached grants of $500,000, which recipients may use to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations. Recipients are nominated anonymously, and do not know they are under consideration until they are notified by the foundation that they have won. “
As he told the Harvard News Office, he actually learned of his award two weeks ago, while visiting friends in Munich, but initially believed he had been contacted by the foundation seeking information about another nominee.“They called to tell me they needed information regarding a MacArthur Fellow, and had some questions regarding their CV and background, but then told me they were talking about me,” Greiner said. “It was a wonderful surprise.” Prof. Greiner got his PhD in experimental physics in the research group of T.W. Haensch, Munich, and did his postdoctoral research with D.S. Jin at JILA, Boulder, Colorado.
Greiner’s work focuses on using lasers and magnetic fields to cool atoms to ultra-low temperatures — near absolute zero — and then trap them in lattices created using lasers. Once trapped, the atoms behave similarly to electrons, enabling the investigation of quantum phenomena like superconductivity under conditions that can be more easily controlled. He advises two labs at Harvard working on ultracold bosons and fermions and a focus single site addressing and readout and on quantum magnetism in optical lattices. These labs share knowledge and ideas with the labs of MIT professors Wolfgang Ketterle, Martin Zwierlein and Mikhail Lukin at the CUA and there are frequent interactions between his labs and the theory group of Professors Eugene Demler and Susanne Yelin. Greiner also has an active role in outreach activities of the CUA.