Nayeli A. Rodriguez Briones

Postdoctoral researcher in Physics at the University of Berkeley

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Dream big, aim for more, fight hard, and when in doubt remember this: You are right and you are not alone!

What do you do?

I explore the universe at a microscopic level, where the particles behave in a very surprising and counter-intuitive way. For example, a particle in the microscopic level could be in two places at the same time!! These strange properties are due to quantum effects which become relevant in the microscopic world. I study these quantum properties, to later use them in the creation of new technologies. In particular, I am focused in the most promising technology: the quantum computer! I am very excited about it, since a quantum computer has the potential to revolutionise the way in which process information. Imagine, with the quantum effects, instead of having a bit at zero or one, we could have a bit simultaneously at zero and one! (which is known as a qubit). This qubit, even though sounds simple, can be used in a clever way to make extremely fast calculations and simulations! These simulations can help us to study with great detail complicated molecules, to later design new materials or even new drugs, among many other important applications. Right now, my work is to create methods to prepare these quantum bits (qubits) for the quantum computers!

Why did you choose this field?

I had an amazing Physics teacher in High School who really believed in me, motivated me and supported me a lot. His classes were very exciting, he was very enthusiastic and explained wonderfully. After taking his course, I felt that I love physics so much that I could be happy working on it (and I am).

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

The freedom of creative work: I wish younger me would have known that it is possible to follow your own intuition and believe in your ideas!! (instead of trying to follow others ideas or paths) It may be scary, but at the end it is where you can find your greatest achievements!

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love working in STEM because I love to understand how nature works and how we can apply our knowledge to improve our lives and our society by creating new technologies. Indeed, STEM allows us to explore nature in an effective and rigorous way, concretely using a mathematical language. Even more, it can helps us to create new technologies with unprecedented capabilities that can improve our lives and our society!

Best advice for next generation?

To all the girls:
Dream big, aim for more, fight hard, and when in doubt remember this: You are right and you are not alone!

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It's your place in the world; it's your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” - Mae Jemison

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