Dr. Barak Dayan

Department of Chemical Physics | Weizmann Institute of Science

Dr. Barak Dayan completed his BSc in physics and mathematics cum laude at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1992), within the Israel Defense Forces’ elite Talpiot program. He went on to complete an MSc in physics cum laude at the Hebrew University (1999), while working as an R&D Project Manager and Senior Physicist in the Prime Minister’s Office. He received a PhD in physics at the Weizmann Institute in 2004, and conducted postdoctoral work at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for three years. He joined the Weizmann Institute in 2008 and is the incumbent of the Joseph and Celia Reskin Career Development Chair.

Dr. Dayan is a world-leader in the field of quantum-optics, which deals with the control of single photons – the particles of light. The same way that today’s computers rely on electric transistors, which divert electric currents, scientists worldwide are interested in finding ways to perform computations using photons instead. In contrast to electrons that repel each other, photons do not interact at all with other photons, and they can therefore be more easily prepared in a super-position state – a quantum state in which each single photon can exist in multiple places at the same time. Such super-position states are the basis for quantum computers – computers that should be millions of times faster than today’s computers, due to the ability of each of their (quantum) transistors to exist in multiple states at the same time. Dr. Dayan’s group was the first to experimentally demonstrate such a quantum transistor with single photons – a ‘photonic router’ that diverts each single photon right or left based on a command given by the previous photon. The current goal of the group is establishing the ability of this technology to perform all-optical quantum computing.

Dr. Dayan is a winner of the Wolf Foundation’s prestigious Krill Prize for 2015. He received the Alon fellowship in 2009, the Caltech Center for the Physics of Information postdoctoral scholarship in 2005-2007, the Rothschild Fellowship in 2005, and the Feinberg Graduate School Prize for Excellence in 2005. From 2000-2003, he received the National Israeli Council for Higher Education Planning Fellowship for Excellence in Advanced Technologies.

Dayan is married, lives in Tel Aviv, and has two wonderful daughters and one charming son.