18 January 2023

Postdoc Freek Witteveen awarded prestigious PhD Prize


Postdoc Freek Witteveen won the prestigious Dutch PhD Stieltjes Prize For the academic year 2021-2022 for his thesis: “Quantum information theory and many-body physics”.

Freek Witteveen

Since 1996, the Stieltjes Prize has been awarded annually for the best PhD thesis in mathematics defended at a Dutch university. For the academic year 2021-2022, the Stieltjes Prize has been awarded to 2 persons: Freek Witteveen (CWI, UvA) for his thesis: “Quantum information theory and many-body physics” and to Sophie Huiberts (CWI, UU) for her thesis: “Geometric Aspects of Linear Programming”.

In their report on the nomination of Freek Witteveen, the jury highlight:

"In the dissertation “Quantum information theory and many-body physics”, Freek Witteveen introduces mathematical structures motivated by potential applications of quantum computing in the simulation of quantum many-body systems. The ensuing mathematical analysis of these structures is very challenging, yet leads to novel and profound results.

The thesis combines intuitive physical motivation with rigorous mathematical formulation and analysis, drawing from and contributing to a multitude of mathematical fields. Its clarity, and the overview provided, attest to the extraordinary maturity of the author. The remarkable results have drawn international attention. According to expert referees they instigate a new research domain in quantum information theory and are bound to have a long-lasting impact.

Freek's work pairs overview and originality with remarkable productivity. His thesis is based on four papers, three of which have been published in leading journals, including Communications in Mathematical Physics and Annales Henri Poincaré. He also had his work accepted at the conference Quantum Information Processing (QIP), which is top in the field. Parallel to his thesis he co-authored two more publications".

Since October 2022, Postdoc Freek Witteveen has been working with Professor Matthias Christandl and the Quantum for Life Center.