URI Welcomes Dr. Vanita Srinivasa to Department of Physics

Name: Vanita Srinivasa
URI Title: Assistant Professor of Physics and Director of Quantum Information Sciences Program
Email: vsriniv@uri.edu
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Three adjectives she’d use to describe herself: passionate, dedicated, meticulous

As the newest member of URI’s Department of Physics, Assistant Professor of Physics and Director of the Quantum Information Sciences program Vanita Srinivasa joins us from the University of Maryland. While there, she completed her postdoctoral work in theoretical quantum information science at the Joint Quantum Institute of the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), as well as at UMD’s Laboratory for Physical Sciences. Prior to coming to URI, Srinivasa served as a Senior Research Scientist in Quantum Information Processing at Sandia National Laboratories. With all this in mind, Srinivasa let her work guide her in her decision to work at URI. “URI is uniquely poised for growth in quantum information science and has a matching enthusiasm for expanding research and education in this field,” she says. “I am excited to establish a new program to help develop this direction at URI at a time when the U.S. government has made it a top priority through the National Quantum Initiative Act.”

In addition to teaching PHY 112: General Physics II in the fall, Srinivasa is excited to pursue her research interests. “My research is in theoretical quantum information science. I study the physics of quantum bits (known as qubits for short), which are the basic unit of quantum information in quantum computers,” she says. “This work involves investigating the best ways of making qubits interact while protecting them from losing the information they store. My interests are centered on using theoretical models to understand how to build the hardware components of quantum computers. Particular areas I focus on in my work include spin qubits (for example, electrons) in semiconductors such as silicon, as well as hybrid systems involving interactions of semiconductor qubits with other systems such as photons that enable quantum information to be transported more easily.”

With the Fall 2020 semester looming ever closer, Srinivasa couldn’t be more optimistic, specifically when considering the additions she’ll make to the physics department. “I am particularly excited about developing a new research program in quantum information science at URI that investigates how to build larger quantum computing architectures by transferring quantum information between semiconductor qubits over long distances,” she says. “I am also eager to advance opportunities for education in this interdisciplinary and rapidly growing field for both undergraduate and graduate students at URI through research and teaching, as well as through the new MS degree in Quantum Computing established within the URI Department of Physics.” As for advice to current students across the university, Srinivasa looks to both the social and academic sides of college. “My advice for current URI students — both in physics and in general — is to be open to new experiences, curious about how the world works, and to use their knowledge to make connections across disciplines, as these connections are key to changing the world,” she advises. “A hallmark of quantum information science is that it crosses disciplinary boundaries and promises to revolutionize the way we perceive the world by applying fundamental quantum physics principles to a wide variety of practical problems.”

~Written by Chase Hoffman, Writing & Rhetoric and Anthropology Double Major, URI Class of December 2020