News Story

Freericks Elected AAAS Fellow

November 28, 2018 — Professor James Freericks of the Department of Physics has been named a fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He is one of only 19 physics professors nationwide to gain the prestigious distinction this year, and the only Georgetown professor in any discipline to do so.

“AAAS is at the forefront of US science and its elected fellows form a group of highly distinguished scientists from all fields,” Freericks said. “It is truly an honor to be included in this group of talented and influential researchers and to have one’s career be recognized in this way.”

Freericks holds an undergraduate degree from Princeton University and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of California – Berkeley. He came to the Hilltop in 1994 following postdoctorals at the University of California’s Santa Barbara and Davis campuses, and has since served in a number of leadership positions, including Department Chair. Since 2010, he has held the Robert L. McDevitt, K.S.G., K.C.H.S. and Catherine H. McDevitt, L.C.H.S. Chair in Physics.

An expert in quantum physics and computing, Freericks is a critical contributor to research in his field, often serving on government-funded teams exploring the frontiers of physics. This year alone, he has received two separate grants from the U.S. Department of Energy to study quantum computing — all while serving as theory lead on a DOE-funded study of X-rays in solid materials.

In addition to his prolific research, Freericks is a dedicated and effective classroom teacher. He won a 2017 President’s Award for Distinguished Scholar-Teachers, which honor “individuals who have made an exceptional impact on our community through the integration of ambitious research and extraordinary student engagement.”

He also teaches a popular edX MOOC (massive open online course) called “Quantum Mechanics for Everyone,” which is consistently rated among the best MOOCs available and was a finalist for the 2018 edX prize.

“We’re thrilled that Jim has received this well-deserved honor,” physics Department Chair Jeffrey Urbach said. “He is a remarkable scholar who has made many important contributions to our understanding of quantum systems, and he exemplifies the spirit of intellectual inquiry that we all strive for on this campus.”

Congratulations, Professor Freericks!

 — Patrick Curran