Join us in welcoming John Howell, Ph.D., to Schmid College as a Professor of Physics and Institute of Quantum Studies!

Dr. John Howell joins us from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is a prominent researcher in quantum optics.

We asked Dr. Howell a few questions to get to know him and his research!

Q&A with Dr. Howell

What is your current area of research and how did you become passionate about this area?

I have many passions with quantum and classical optics.  I have studied entangled photons, entanglement measures, quantum key distribution, quantum computing, quantum imaging, weak values, invisibility, precision measurements, slow light, hot and cold atoms and other technologies.  Right now, I am pursuing precision Doppler measurements for precision inertial navigation and passive Lidar. I am interested in using entangled photons for fundamental tests of quantum mechanics.  Lastly, I am using a technique popularized by several researchers at Chapman University called weak values to test fundamental effects in classical and quantum optics.

For many years, I have been intrigued by the rather peculiar and counter-intuitive behavior of quantum mechanics.  Being able to use those strange effects in  useful applications has been an exciting path of research for me.  I switched to quantum optics when I was a graduate student and learned about quantum computing.  When I heard about the possibilities of quantum computing, I jumped on board.

What’s your favorite thing about being a professor?

My favorite thing by far is working with my research students.  The joint process of discovery is very exciting.  It is fun to see the light go on in their eyes, discuss ideas with them and see an effect on an oscilloscope together.  Some of my favorite moments are giving high fives for a breakthrough or discovery.

Schmid College believes that the best science happens when diverse individuals are supported, included and empowered to share their voices as a part of scientific discovery. Please share with us what diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to you and why they’re important.

I recently moved from Jerusalem, Israel.  We lived on the Green Line, a line traditionally used to denote the separation between Israel and Palestine.  I loved being able to play soccer with the local Palestinian boys in the morning and sing in the synagogue with my Israeli friends later in the evening.  My son, Paul, was in the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, which was started as a peace initiative between Jews, Muslims and Christians.  To me DEI means that everyone is treated with respect and that everyone is given the opportunity to succeed.  I have always lived by the idea that everyone’s voice must be heard.

Share a fun fact about yourself

After winning the gold medal in the Utah Summer Games for olympic style weightlifting, one of the strongest men in the world asked me to spot him during a bench press exhibition.  I was on TV from the waist down 😁. And no, he didn’t need my help.

Welcome to Schmid College, Dr. Howell!