Awards and Honors

Danna Freedman receives prestigious honor for young faculty

By Megan Fellman

October 20, 2015

Award recognizes ‘individuals who exemplify the role of teacher-scholar’

Chemist and International Institute for Nanotechnology Researcher, Danna Freedman has received the prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Freedman, an assistant professor of Chemistry at Northwestern, will receive $600,000 over five years from NSF’s Division of Chemistry for her work on quantum computing.

The CAREER award, the NSF’s most prestigious honor for junior faculty members, supports early career development of individuals who exemplify the role of teacher-scholar through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research.

Freedman and her team will focus on creating and implementing design principles to synthesize better qubits, the smallest unit of a quantum computer. Creating computers with quantum objects would enable scientists to understand electron transfer in a new way, paving the way for new generations of materials for renewable energy.

“This award will be crucial in supporting our development of quantum computation,” Freedman said. “It will help fund curious, thoughtful graduate students as well as support dissemination of the research to the broader non-scientific community.”

Freedman will integrate research and education by incorporating new scientific discoveries into the introductory chemistry curriculum at Northwestern through a combination of demonstrations, lecture examples and student-created products, such as Wikipedia pages. She also will continue work on a Museum of Science and Industry exhibit about her magnetic anisotropy research, which includes a video of her describing magnetism.