Welcoming Professor Prineha Narang

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Prof. Prineha Narang

The department welcomes renowned theoretical and computational science scholar Professor Prineha Narang, who joins the UCLA faculty as the Howard Reiss Development Chair.   

Currently an Assistant Professor at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University, Prof. Narang will transition NarangLab, her interdisciplinary group founded at Harvard, to UCLA in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, where she and her team will continue to explore topics at the intersection of computational science, condensed matter theory, quantum photonics, and quantum information science. Her appointment is effective July 1st of this year. 

“We are delighted to welcome Pri to UCLA,” said Professor Miguel García-Garibay, UCLA’s Dean of Physical Sciences. “She is a pioneer in theoretical and computational quantum matter with a bold vision for the field that we are eager to see realized here.” “Her work holds tremendous potential for breakthroughs across areas of the physical sciences; and will unlock new avenues of research for the broader experimental chemical science, condensed matter, ultrafast science, and quantum information communities at UCLA,” added García-Garibay. 

In the last year alone, Prof. Narang’s work has been recognized internationally by many awards and a variety of  special designations, including the Mildred Dresselhaus Prize for her “outstanding contributions to the field of quantum science and technology”, the IUPAP Young Scientist Prize in Computational Physics for her “pioneering achievements in computational nanophotonics, quantum plasmonics and ab initio descriptions of ultrafast dynamics in quantum materials”, a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award (Bessel Prize) from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and a Max Planck Sabbatical Award from the Max Planck Society. Prof. Narang also received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2020, was named a Moore Inventor Fellow by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for innovations in quantum science and technology, CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, a Top Innovator by MIT Tech Review (MIT TR35), and a Young Scientist by the World Economic Forum in 2018. In 2017, she was named by Forbes Magazine on their “30 under 30” list for her work in atom-by-atom quantum engineering.  

“Pri’s arrival will elevate our department,” said Distinguished Professor Neil Garg, the Kenneth N. Trueblood Endowed Chair in Chemistry and Biochemistry and Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “She’ll dramatically expand our lead in theoretical and computational chemistry, bringing top undergraduate and graduate students interested in theory to our program because of the strength of our faculty in this area.” 

“It’s a privilege and an honor to join the UCLA science and academic community,” said Prof. Narang. “With its tremendous faculty and broad student base, it’s an ideal environment to execute on the vision I’ve had for some time for NarangLab to focus on fundamental questions in quantum phenomena, how to predict non-equilibrium dynamics in molecules and materials, and create new building blocks for scalable quantum information technology.” Interactions with the broader UCLA community include the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IPAM), where Prof. Narang has been involved in long programs,  and the UCLA Center for Quantum Science and Engineering (CQSE). 

“Pri is an extraordinary scientist and a force of nature,” said Professor Paul Weiss, the UC Presidential Chair, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Bioengineering, and of Materials Science and Engineering. “Her impact will extend across campus as she is highly collaborative and breaks new ground across a range of fields. She works closely with both experimentalists and theorists, and we are tremendously excited to have her join us to pursue new directions in quantum materials and chemistry together,” noted Weiss. 

Prior to starting on the Harvard faculty in 2017, Prof. Narang was an Environmental Fellow at HUCE, and worked as a research scholar in condensed matter theory in the Department of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on new theoretical methods to describe interactions in quantum matter. She received an M.S. and Ph.D. in Applied Physics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) supported by a Resnick Fellowship and an NSF Graduate Fellowship. Prof. Narang holds leadership roles in various Department of Energy, Department of Defense and National Science Foundation centers, and her continued service to the community includes Chairing the Materials Research Society (MRS) Spring Meeting (2022) and the MRS-Kavli Foundation Future of Materials Workshop: Computational Materials Science (2021), as an Associate Editor for ACS Nano, and most recently a leadership role in APS’ Division of Materials Physics. In addition to her academic accomplishments, Narang is the Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Aliro, a quantum network platform company she co-founded in 2019.  

On a personal note, as a committed Ironman-triathlon racer and marathon runner, Prof. Narang looks forward to training in the Southern California sun. 

David Templeton, Narang Lab, dbtcom@gmail.com, (203) 530-0458.