Cedric Wilson awarded an NSF MPS-Ascend Postdoctoral Fellowship and a YQI Fellowship

May 6, 2024

Cedric Wilson postdoctoral researcher in Charles Brown’s group has won a  National Science Foundation Mathematical and Physical Sciences Ascending Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (NSF MPS-Ascend) starting May 2024 for three years. Wilson is the second postdoctoral fellow in the Yale  Physics department to be supported by the NSF MPS-Ascend Fellowship. He has also won a 2024 Yale Quantum Institute (YQI) Postdoctoral Fellowship before beginning his NSF fellowship.

Wilson is interested in applications of quantum science, in particular quantum simulation. He is working in the Brown group, where they are building a quasicrystal optical lattice experiment which will provide a background potential for quantum matter waves of ultra cold bosonic and fermionic lithium atoms. Imaging these quantum gases will tell us about the unconventional symmetries in quasicrystals and the unusual states of matter that travel within, which may pave the way to new kinds of topological quantum materials.

He grew up in Salt Lake City where he worked in restaurants before discovering his interest in physics. After that he earned his PhD at MIT studying rotating quantum gases. Exposure to great teachers and mentors along the way nurtured his interest in science communication. The NSF fellowship has funded him to pursue experimental work and scientific communication concurrently with greater autonomy than he would have as a postdoctoral associate. In the process he hopes to broaden participation in physical science by sharing his journey and what he has learned along the way through video.

Wilson’s advisor, Charles D. Brown II, assistant professor in physics and a member of Yale’s Wright Lab, commented, “It’s quite an accomplishment and distinction to have won both the Yale Quantum Institute and NSF MPS Ascend postdoctoral fellowships, although not surprising. Cedric is a creative and hardworking early career scientist that is on the verge of exploring some exciting science. I’m overjoyed to know that both YQI and the NSF have made the same determination.”