Prof. Dr. Ignacio Cirac

Main research interests

As an expert in quantum computation and its applications, the focus of Ignacio Ciracs research is the quantum theory of information. With his colleague Peter Zoller, he has made the first proposals to build quantum computers and quantum simulators using ions, neutral atoms, and other physical systems. He also discovered how cold atoms experiments can be used to solve problems in material science, high-energy physics, and quantum chemistry. He developed several quantum algorithms to solve a variety of problems with quantum computers. In the field of quantum communication, he introduced the concept of quantum repeaters, proposed the first ways of implementing them with atoms and photons, and provided the first security proof for continuous variable quantum cryptography. He has also introduced basic concepts and techniques in quantum information theory and, in particular, in entanglement theory. With several collaborators, he introduced projected entangled-pair states, which are now widely used in classical computational physics. Additionally, he developed a theory of tensor networks, and related the entanglement in a many-body quantum system with the possibility of describing it efficiently.

Short CV

J. Ignacio Cirac, born 11 October 1965, is a Spanish theoretical physicist. His field of research is quantum information theory. With his collaborators, he introduced the first proposals of quantum computers, simulators, and repeaters with atoms, and developed a theory of tensor networks to describe quantum many-body systems. BIOGRAPHY Ignacio Cirac graduated in Theoretical Physics at the Complutense University of Madrid (Spain) in 1988, and gained his PhD in 1991 at the same university. Between 1991 and 1996, he was Associate Professor at the University of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain), and spent eighteen months at the University of Colorado (US) working with Peter Zoller. From 1996 until 2001 he was Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Innsbruck (Austria). Since 2001 he is a member of the Max Planck Society and director at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany). In 2002 he also became honorary professor at the Technical University of Munich.


Ignacio Cirac has been awarded numerous prices and recognitions for his work on quantum information, many of the with his colleague and close collaborator Peter Zoller. Among others, he received the:

  • Wolf Prize in Physics in 2013, 
  • Benjamin Franklin Medal in 2010
  • BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award in 2008
  • Prince of Asturias Award in 2006
  • National Prize for Young Researchers and the Medal of the Spanish Royal Physical Society in 1991 and 2003,
  • Felix Kuschenitz Prize of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in 2001
  • Quantum Electronics Prize from the European Science Foundation in 2005
  • National "Blas Cabrera" Prize for Physical, Material and Earth Sciences in 2007
  • Carl Zeiss Prize in 2009
  • Niels Bohr Medal in 2013
  • Hamburg prize in Theoretical Physics in 2015
  • Max Planck Medal of the German Physical Society in 2018
  • Bell Prize in Physics and the Micius Quantum Prize in 2019

He is an ordinary member of the Spanish Academy of Sciences, the German Academy Leopoldina, the Bavarian
Academy of Sciences, and corresponding member of the Austrian. He holds a honorary doctorship from eight universities.




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