The Fulbright Award for Thomas Baker

Dr Thomas Baker

Photo : Institut quantique

Thomas Baker, who recently ended his postdoctoral studies at the Institut quantique, is now part of the Fulbrighter community of renowned research award recipients. Using the density functional theory (DFT) developed in 1964, he focuses on tensor networks.

The Award

J.William Fulbright is an American statesman and initiator of the exchange program that bears his name. A major contributor to the country’s foreign affairs, J. W. Fulbright focused on peacekeeping and the sharing of knowledge, the ideology that led to the creation of the United Nations. During his lifetime, the politician served five terms in the U.S. Senate and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton in 1993.

Since its creation, the Fulbright Fellowship has funded a number of scholars, 60 of whom have been awarded a Nobel Prize, they include Peter Higgs for his work on the boson, Masatoshi Koshiba for his research on neutrinos, as well as Eugene Wigner, known for the “Wigner’s Friend Paradox.”

While at the Institut quantique

Thomas Baker initiated several projects at the Institut quantique as part of his postdoctoral fellowship.

During his journey in Sherbrooke, he had the opportunity to work with many IQ members such as David Sénéchal and Alexandre Foley, André-Marie Tremblay, and Chloé Gauvin-Ndiaye on magnetocaloric predictions and Samuel Desrosiers on tensor networks. He also did collaborative work with Alexandre Blais, Augustin Di Paolo for a publication that was accepted at Nature Quantum Information.

Pr David Sénéchal salutes the contribution of Thomas Baker. “Thomas was very generous of his time while at IQ and active in many groups. Not only is he an excellent researcher and developer of numerical methods for Physics, but he actively participated in the supervision of many students, in particular undergraduate interns.

He certainly became one of the world experts on tensor networks, a type of numerical method that can encode the quantum state of a complex, entangled system in a relatively simple numerical object with a good level of approximation.”

“ The Fulbright is certainly the most prestigious thing I’ve ever won, with due respect to the postdoctoral fellowship here that opened up so many doors for me. The Fulbright has roots in international collaboration going back decades and it’s such an honour to continuing that collaborative tradition especially right now, when it is needed more than ever. I have no doubt that I would not be embarking on this adventure without the support and trust of everyone here at the Institut quantique” explains Thomas Baker.

For Prof. Patrick Fournier, Associate Dean for Research and Teaching in the Faculty of Science, the Fulbright award is a testament to the recipient’s qualities as a physicist as well as to his human qualities.“ Dr. Baker deserves the full recognition of his achievements, a testimony of his great talents as a physicist, but also for his very humane approach to science. He has been a significant contributor, a leading figure I believe, to the great adventure of our starting Institut quantique over the last few years. It is an exciting period for our Physics Department and for the Faculty of Sciences to be part of the second quantum revolution. Dr. Baker has himself contributed to this excitement and will forever be a great ambassador for our Institut quantique. I have no doubt that he will carry the flame IQ to his next steps in his career, not only with his science but also with humane leadership. The Fulbright award is not only about his past accomplishments but also about his exceptional potential. I expect to hear from him soon and often.”

In addition to promoting advances in science, the U.S. initiative promotes social goals such as the formation of joint projects and lasting relationships between countries. Founded in 1946, the Fulbright Awards have encouraged nearly 390,000 students in a variety of fields to pursue their projects. This prestigious award has seen 88 of its recipients receive the Pulitzer Prize and 37 become heads of state or government.

Thomas Baker will now work to create tools to facilitate the work of quantum researchers.


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