I just saw the news that Alexei Kitaev, a pioneer in quantum computing and an incredible physicst/computer scientist, has won a MacArthur “genius” award. Awesome!
Kitaev was my next door neighbor while I was a postdoc at Caltech, and among the many highlights of my short life I count listening to Kitaev’s amazing, confounding, brilliant and way over my head ideas. One event in particular I will always remember involved Alexei talking to theoretical computer scientists and, halfway through the talk, pointing out how Majorana fermions were essential to understanding what was going on in that particular computer science problem. Sure in retrospect I understood what he was saying, but how the hell did he make that connection?!?! Truly a genius and completely deserving of the MacArthur award. Congrats Alexei!
Update 8pm PST: Seems that news article has been taken down. Hmm.
Update 12:30am PST List of fellows now posted here. In a local note, David Montgomery who studies geomorphology has also been named a MacArthur fellow.