PhD student Alex Greene studies superconducting quantum computing systems while rounding out their busy schedule with water sanitation projects.
October 13, 2022

In Building 13 on MIT’s campus, there sits a half-a-million-dollar piece of equipment that looks like a long stretched-out chandelier, with a series of gold discs connected by thin silver pipes. The equipment, known as a dilution refrigerator, is a key player in PhD student Alex Greene’s research, as it houses all their experiments. “My life gets shaped around its rhythms,” they say.

As an MIT undergraduate, Greene double-majored in physics and in electrical engineering and computer science. They found a home in the field of quantum computing, where researchers are working to build extremely powerful computers by leveraging physics concepts in quantum mechanics.

Greene stayed at MIT to pursue an MEng in quantum computing, working at the Lincoln Laboratory. There, they researched ways to improve a technology called trapped ion quantum computing, which uses atoms suspended in the air and controlled by lasers.