Siddharth Parameswaran, a UCI assistant professor of physics & astronomy, has won a prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation that comes with more than $500,000 to support his research in condensed matter physics. “This award from the NSF means that my group can now make a sustained effort toward our research goals with the confidence that we have the resources to do so over the next five years,” Parameswaran said. His group is exploring fundamental questions in quantum materials science and quantum computing. Parameswaran is seeking to understand how the symmetry properties of crystals affect the cooperative behavior of the quantum-mechanical gas of electrons within them. This knowledge will help scientists determine whether these crystals might serve as building blocks for error-resistant quantum computers. Another priority is to study the behavior of isolated, strongly interacting quantum systems — in a sense, toy models for quantum computers — to see if they can exhibit “localized” behavior whereby they retain quantum information over long time periods. This is related to fundamental issues in statistical mechanics, entropy production and quantum entanglement. The NSF CAREER Award will also support a UCI summer school program that prepares Southern California graduate students, particularly those from the California State University system, for research careers. In addition, it will allow the School of Physical Sciences to incorporate new activities into the UCI LEAPS middle school outreach program.