Medal, to be awarded by the Queen of Denmark, recognizes outstanding original scientific work in physics or chemistry 

The Danish Society for the Dissemination of Natural Science has announced that Charlie Marcus, the Director of the Microsoft Quantum Lab in Copenhagen and Villum Kann Rasmussen Professor at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagenis being awarded the H.C. Ørsted Gold Medal. 

Charles Marcus in the laboratory at the University of Copenhagen.
Charlie Marcus in the laboratory at the University of Copenhagen. Photo credit: Niels Bohr Institute

Charlie is the first non-Dane to receive the award, which coincides this year with the 200th anniversary of Ørsted’s discovery that an electrical current generates a magnetic field. As the Director of the Microsoft Quantum Lab in Copenhagen, he has been a pioneer of topological quantum computation with superconductor-semiconductor hybrid devices. Over the course of his career, which has spanned professorships at Stanford, Harvard, and Copenhagen University, he has conducted seminal investigations of mesoscopic quantum physics—the quantum properties of semiconductor devices at length scales between a nanometer and a micrometer. 

Fittingly for an Ørsted medal winner, Charlie has often been able to intertwine the electrical and magnetic properties of electrons in such devices, as in the case of coherent electrical control of the coupling between quantum spins and in the case of ferromagnet-superconductor-semiconductor hybrid materials (for more details about the latter, see my earlier blog post and links therein). 

Charlie and his collaborators have done seminal work on both spin qubits and superconducting qubits, before gravitating towards topological qubits and helping to launch Microsoft’s Quantum Program, initially as a consultant and academic collaborator, beginning 15 years ago, and then as a Microsoft employee since 2016. 

Charlie is also known as a wonderful mentor for both undergraduate and graduate students, as well as postdoctoral scientists. His former students are faculty members at many universities, occupy important positions in many other industrial quantum computing efforts, and play key roles within the Microsoft Quantum program. 

On a personal note, Charlie has been a great friend and collaborator for many years, and I am thrilled that he has received this well-deserved recognition.