Ana Maria Rey, now a theoretical physicist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has been fascinated with physics ever since her childhood in Colombia. “Since I was very young, I loved the idea of describing with math the behavior of the world,” she told the MacArthur Foundation. She studies ultracold atoms by trapping them with laser light and then probing them to simulate solid-state crystals. Cold atoms, she says, are a useful tool because they’re “highly controllable systems that are allowing us to understand quantum mechanics in a way that was not possible before.” She’s currently working on a theoretical framework for quantum computing based on alkaline earth metals.
Click through to see the other amazing women winning the MacArthur Award: http://www.thedailybeast.com/witw/articles/2013/10/01/the-11-women-of-the-2013-macarthur-grants.html