Juan Ignacio Cirac Sasturain
Born (1965-10-11) 11 October 1965 (age 58)
Alma materComplutense University of Madrid
Known forTrapped ion quantum computer
Quantum network models
Cirac-Zoller CNOT
W state
Tensor network states
AwardsPrince of Asturias Award (2006)
BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award (2008)
Benjamin Franklin Medal (2010)
Wolf Prize in Physics (2013)
Max Planck Medal (2018)
John Stewart Bell Prize (2019)
La Vanguardia Prize "Innovation" (2023)
Scientific career
InstitutionsMax Planck Institute of Quantum Optics
Thesis Interaction of two-level atoms with non-classical states of light[1]  (1991)
Doctoral advisorLuis Lorenzo Sánchez Soto
Notable studentsFrank Verstraete,
Guifré Vidal

Juan Ignacio Cirac Sasturain (born 11 October 1965), known professionally as Ignacio Cirac, is a Spanish physicist. He is one of the pioneers of the field of quantum computing and quantum information theory. He is the recipient of the 2006 Prince of Asturias Award in technical and scientific research.


Cirac graduated from the Complutense University of Madrid in 1988 and moved to the United States in 1991 to work as a postdoctoral scientist with Peter Zoller in the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics in University of Colorado at Boulder. Between 1991 and 1996, he was teaching physics in the Ciudad Real Faculty of Chemistry, University of Castilla-La Mancha.[2]

In 1996, Cirac became professor in the Institut für Theoretische Physik in Innsbruck, Austria, and in 2001 he became a director of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany, where he heads the Theory Division. At the same time, he was appointed honorary professor at the Technical University of Munich. He is a distinguished visiting professor and research advisor at ICFO – the Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona since its foundation in 2002. He has been a member of research teams at the universities of Harvard, Technical University of Munich, Hamburg, UCSB, Hannover, Bristol, Paris, CEA/Saclay, École Normale Supérieure, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[3]

His research is focused on quantum optics, the quantum theory of information and quantum many-body physics. His joint work with Peter Zoller on ion trap quantum computation opened up the possibility of experimental quantum computation, and his joint work on optical lattices jumpstarted the field of quantum simulation. He has also made seminal contributions in the fields of quantum information theory, degenerated quantum gases, quantum optics, and renormalization group methods.[4] As of 2017 Juan Ignacio Cirac has published more than 440 articles in the most prestigious journals[5] and is one of the most cited authors in his fields of research.[6][7] He has been named among others as a possible candidate to win the Nobel Prize in Physics.[8]

Other activities

Corporate boards

Non-profit organizations

Honors and awards

Ignacio Cirac has been granted multiple awards, notable ones being the 2006 Prince of Asturias Award,[3] the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award[10] in the Basic Sciences category ex aequo with Peter Zoller, and The Franklin Institute's 2010 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics (jointly with David J. Wineland and Peter Zoller). He was awarded the Wolf Prize in Physics with Peter Zoller in 2013.[11] In 2018 he received the Max Planck Medal of the German Physical Society[12] and the Micius Quantum Prize.[13] In 2023, he received the first La Vanguardia prize in the category "Innovation".[14][15]

He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2003.[16] In 2017 he became a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.[17]

See also


  1. ^ Original in Spanish: Interaccion de atomos de dos niveles con estados no clasicos de luz, cf. "UCM Tesis". Library, Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  2. ^ Leopoldina (ed.). "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). leopoldina.org. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Juan Ignacio Cirac: Prince of Asturias Award for Technical & Scientific Research 2006". fpa.es. Fundación Princesa de Asturias. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  4. ^ Leopoldina German Academy of Sciences (ed.). "Member's Profile". leopoldina.org. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Resume – Juan Ignacio Cirac" (PDF). MPI for Quantum Optics. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 January 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  6. ^ "2258 Highly Cited Researchers (h>100) according to their Google Scholar Citations public profiles". webometrics.info. Retrieved 21 January 2018. (Cirac is no. 592 on the list)
  7. ^ "2017 Highly Cited Researchers". clarivate.com. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Nobel prize sizzle: building excitement in the run-up to the physics award". physicsworld.com. 5 October 2020. Retrieved 12 November 2022.
  9. ^ "Board of Directors". Telefónica. 7 July 2021. Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  10. ^ "Ignacio Cirac, Frontiers of Knowledge Laureate". Fundación BBVA. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  11. ^ "Prof. Juan Ignacio Cirac Winner of Wolf Prize in Physics – 2013". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  12. ^ Olivia Meyer-Streng. "Prof. Ignacio Cirac receives Max-Planck Medal from the German Physical Society". mpq.mpg.de. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  13. ^ Zhu Lixin (28 April 2019). "Chinese prize for quantum research announced". China Daily. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  14. ^ "HomeActividades y Agenda - Entrega de la primera edición de los "Premios La Vanguardia"". casareal.es. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  15. ^ "Ignacio Cirac receives first La Vanguardia Prize - presented by the King of Spain". www.mpq.mpg.de. 9 October 2023. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  16. ^ "APS Fellow Archive". APS. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  17. ^ "Ignacio Cirac". German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. Retrieved 26 May 2021.

Lectures and panels