JILA Undergraduate Research Assistant Luke Coffman Awarded Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Submitted by kennac on Mon, 04/22/2024 - 2:34 pm

JILA Undergraduate Research Assistant Luke Coffman has been awarded a Goldwater Scholarship

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Luke Coffman/LinkedIn

Luke Coffman, a dedicated undergraduate research assistant at JILA, part of the University of Colorado Boulder, has been awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for the 2024 academic year. This award places Coffman among a select group of 438 students nationwide, who are recognized for their significant achievements and potential in research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

As a junior from St. Charles, Missouri, Coffman is pursuing an ambitious academic path with majors in physics and mathematics, supplemented by a minor in quantum engineering. His research at JILA, a leading institute known for its advanced studies in quantum information and related fields, centers on quantum information theory. Specifically, Coffman's work explores the intricacies of entanglement, a quantum phenomenon essential for the next generation of quantum computing and secure communication systems.

Coffman's current project at Oak Ridge National Laboratories involves pioneering methods to distill entanglement. His work, colloquially described as making "quantum lemonade from quantum lemons," focuses on enhancing weak quantum entanglements for practical applications such as teleportation and encryption. This research advances the theoretical framework of quantum mechanics and holds potential for real-world applications in secure communications.

Beyond his research, Coffman actively contributes to the CU Boulder community. He serves as co-president of the Society of Physics Students and vice president of the Community of Support for Marginalized Students (COSMOS) within the math department. These leadership roles underscore his commitment to fostering an inclusive academic environment.

Acknowledging the support and guidance from his mentors, Coffman extends his gratitude to notable figures such as Graeme Smith at IQC/JILA, Jacob Beckey and Murray Holland at JILA, and Joshua Combes in ECEE. Their expertise and encouragement have been instrumental in his research and development as a scholar.

CU students Claire Ely and Delaney McNally were also awarded a Goldman Scholarship, recognized for their exceptional contributions to research in their respective fields.

Deborah Viles, director of the Office of Top Scholarships at CU Boulder, praised the achievement: “All three have made remarkable progress in their research at CU under the guidance of enthusiastic and supportive mentors. We can’t wait to see how their work continues to influence humanity" 

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