Erik Lucero standing at a podium and speaking.
CU Denver alum Erik Lucero, PhD, the Lead Quantum Engineer and Site Lead for Google Santa Barbara.

CU Denver Alum and Quantum Expert Dr. Erik Lucero Sparks Conversation and Inquiry in Annual Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture Series 

April 16, 2024

CU Denver is dedicated to creating an academic environment where education can work for all. That means offering flexible learning options, creating curriculums that lead to careers, and building a community that supports asking big questions. And that commitment was on display on April 4 during the annual Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture Series, which is presented by the Damrauer Endowed Lectureship Fund.  

This year’s event featured CU Denver alum Erik Lucero, PhD, the Lead Quantum Engineer and Site Lead for Google Santa Barbara. His speech, “Quantum is the Language of Nature,” explored facts, fiction, and the future of quantum mechanics. It was an excellent precursor to World Quantum Day on April 14, an annual celebration of this exciting field.  

After his speech, he sat down with Chancellor Michelle Marks for a Q&A session that explored student questions about the field, how Lucero uses artistic work to inspire teams, and how quantum computing could help solve some of the world’s biggest problems.  

A highlight of the event showcased Lucero’s deep connections to Denver—his family members, including his two sisters, were in attendance—and the university. Lucero was introduced to the quantum field during his undergraduate studies by Martin Huber, PhD, professor of physics and director of the Master’s program in Integrated Sciences. Huber is a leading expert in the field and is dedicated to helping students connect their academic journey to impactful careers.  

The lecture also spotlighted CU Denver’s unique Quantum Information Technology Certificate, which allows students to develop a multidisciplinary mindset by combining electrical engineering and physics to prepare them to work in this emerging field.  

Thanks to generous support from Google and FormFactor, a major manufacturer in the quantum field, CU Denver will soon open a lab that will allow our students to gain hands-on experience working with equipment in addition to the certificate’s coursework. In particular, CU Denver is receiving a cryostat, which keeps items at extremely low temperatures to facilitate quantum activity. Together, the lab and certificate will support CU Denver’s goal to create a diverse workforce by supporting first-generation learners, women in STEM, and other people underrepresented in these fields.