Quantum engineering expert Stephen Lyon wins Schowalter Award

Written by
Office of Engineering Communications
Feb. 1, 2024

Stephen Lyon, an expert in quantum computing, has received the 2024 Schowalter Award from Princeton’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, recognizing his decades of excellence researching and teaching and his pioneering work in quantum technology.

Lyon, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, focuses on harnessing quantum mechanical effects for information processing, with a special focus on the use of silicon and helium as a quantum computing platform. By coating silicon chips with superfluid helium (cooled to near absolute zero), Lyon has shown that electrons flow freely and can preserve fragile quantum information for much longer than other quantum computing platforms.

Starting in 2003, Lyon developed the first quantum computing course at Princeton to be geared toward students without an advanced physics background. In 2009, he co-developed one of the first quantum computing courses in the country to focus not on what quantum computers can do but on how to go about designing and building them. Lyon also co-developed “Car Lab,” the signature undergraduate robotics course that has become a rite of passage for electrical and computer engineering majors and one of the most beloved courses on campus.

The annual Schowalter Award recognizes a senior faculty member for outstanding contributions in research, teaching and service. It is named for William Schowalter, the Class of 1950 Professor of Engineering, emeritus, and his wife Jane Schowalter. William Schowalter, a pioneer in the field of fluid mechanics, has been a Princeton faculty member since 1957.

Lyon joined the Princeton faculty in 1978. He earned his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology and his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University. He previously received the NSF Presidential Young Investigator’s Award and numerous awards for his teaching excellence.