Greg Huxtable to begin Ph.D. at UC Irvine, building on high-level research in quantum computing

Greg Huxtable
B.S., Physics and Mathematics
Hometown: Gambrills, Maryland
Plans: Ph.D., University of California, Irvine

UMBC was a great environment for preparing me for graduate school, due to the large number of research opportunities available to undergraduates.

Greg Huxtable is heading to the University of California, Irvine to pursue a Ph.D.  in physics after conducting theoretical physics research at UMBC on the optimization of quantum heat engines (engines consisting of single ions). How did he decide on this particular area of focus? Reflecting on the unique research and learning opportunities he accessed as a UMBC undergraduate, Huxtable says, “I’ve attended dozens of weekly colloquiums in the physics department, which has exposed me to current developments in many fields of physics and has helped shaped my interests.”

Huxtable’s mentor, Sebastian Deffner, assistant professor of physics, has also played a major role in his success. “Sebastian has been a terrific mentor to me,” Huxtable shares. “From explaining to me how to balance research and life, to our talks on what life is like at every stage of academia—from undergrad up to professorship—he exposed me to the academic world in a way that classes could not.”

Greg Huxtable ’18 (no. 11, center) with the UMBC club lacrosse team. Photo courtesy Greg Huxtable.

“Greg is one of the most mature and dedicated undergraduate students that I have met,” says Deffner. “Visiting scientists frequently mistake him for an advanced graduate student.”

With Deffner’s support, Huxtable applied for and received the Donald N. Langenberg Undergraduate Research Award in Physics in 2017. The award honors a prior chancellor of the University System of Maryland and supplies a monetary award to support an undergraduate student’s research in physics. Huxtable will also travel to Telluride, Colorado this summer for a week-long conference co-organized by Deffner on nanoscale statistical physics and thermodynamics.

In addition to his academic success, Huxtable has been a member of the UMBC men’s club lacrosse team for three years and served as the team’s captain and vice president his senior year. “I’ll forever cherish the bonds I’ve made with my teammates and coaches,” he says. “I looked up to my older teammates my first year, and I did my best to build on what they left behind for the next generation of UMBC men’s club lacrosse leaders.”

Portrait by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.