(Santa Barbara, Calif.) — UC Santa Barbara postdoctoral researcher Henry Maxfield has been named a winner of the Breakthrough Foundation’s 2021 New Horizons Prize in Fundamental Physics. He, along with fellow early-career researchers Ahmed Almheiri at the Institute for Advanced Study, Netta Englehardt at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Geoff Penington at UC Berkeley, were awarded $100,000 “for calculating the quantum information content of a black hole and its radiation.”
“I feel lucky to have an honor like this,” said Maxfield, who came to UC Santa Barbara as a DeBendictis Postdoctoral Fellow, supported by a private donation to the UCSB Department of Physics. “It’s wonderful to be part of a community that’s really positive and collaborative and very open, and I feel lucky to have been in the right place at the right time.”
The right place and right time happened to be UC Santa Barbara, where Maxfield’s network included Englehardt and Almheiri, who received their doctorates under the guidance of UCSB physics professors Gary Horowitz and Joe Polchinski, respectively. The trio’s paper, co-written with professor Donald Marolf in 2019, takes us one step closer to resolving the black hole information paradox, one of the most intriguing physics mysteries of our time.