Prize Recipient

Kang-Kuen Ni

Kang-Kuen Ni
Harvard University


"For seminal work on ultracold molecules, including original contributions to the understanding of chemical reactions in the quantum regime, deterministic creation of individual molecules with optical tweezers, and development of novel, high-precision techniques to interrogate and control the complete set of internal molecular resources."


Kang-Kuen Ni received her Ph.D. in physics in 2009, studying with Deborah Jin at the University of Colorado, Boulder. While there, she worked at JILA, contributing to the creation and study of ultracold molecules in the quantum regime. As a postdoctoral fellow in Jeff Kimble’s group at Caltech, she applied optical trapping to nanomembranes. Afterwards, she returned to JILA as a postdoctoral fellow in Eric Cornell’s group, working on quantum state preparation of cold molecular ions to search for an electron electric dipole moment. In 2013, Ni started her independent research group at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. Her group pursues new approaches to create and gain quantum control of ultracold molecules for the study of chemical reactions, quantum information processing, and quantum many-body physics. Her achievements have earned several awards including a Sloan Research Fellowship, a David and Lucile Packard Fellowship, a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, and Young Investigator Awards from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Department of Energy.

Selection Committee:

2021 Selection Committee Member: Wendell Hill (Chair), Anne Marie March, Andrew Wilson, Seth Aubin, Kang-Kuen Ni (2019 recipient)