The quantum physics of Nature

In ‘The Quantum Physics of Nature’, Colombian physicist, Professor Alexandra Olaya-Castro, explored the microscopic scales of Nature, bridging quantum science and biology to help us understand our natural world.

Event held on Tuesday 20th of April 2021 at 6:30 PM BST on Zoom.

About this event

Professor Alexandra Olaya-Castro’s current research aims to elucidate fundamental quantum principles underlying energy capture, transfer and conversion at the biomolecular level. She and her team are developing theoretical approaches that bring together in a complementary fashion concepts from modern quantum science, physical chemistry and biophysics. Her focus is particularly on predicting signatures and consequences of non-trivial quantum behaviour in the electronic and vibrational dynamics of photo-activated biomolecules.

About the speaker

Alexandra Olaya-Castro is a Colombian-born theoretical physicist, currently a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at University College London. She is also the Vice-Dean (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) for the Mathematical and Physical Science Faculty.

She is known for her work on quantum physics of biomolecular processes, specifically for her research on quantum effects in photosynthesis. She was the recipient of the Maxwell Medal in 2016 for her contributions to the theory of quantum effects in bio-molecular systems.

From an early age, Alexandra became fascinated by physics and was determined to make that her career even though at the time it was very much a male dominated discipline. She did an undergraduate degree in Physics Education at Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas and later obtained a Master of Science in Physics at Universidad de Los Andes in 2002. She then moved to the UK to purse a doctorate in the Physics Department at Somerville College, Oxford, where she obtained her DPhil in Physics with her thesis titled “Quantum correlations in multi-qubit-cavity systems” supervised by Neil F. Johnson.