Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Video conference

In this interview, David Zierler, Oral Historian for AIP, interviews Nathalie de Leon, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at Princeton. de Leon describes being an “interloper in EE” because her degree is in chemical physics, and she surveys her research agenda and how it fits across a range of departments at Princeton. She describes her Filipino heritage and her upbringing in the Philippines and in California, and discusses her scientific interests and her admission to Stanford for her undergraduate study. de Leon describes her interests in laser spectroscopy and she compares the difficulties as a student woman of color in STEM against those as a faculty woman of color in STEM. She describes her graduate research at Harvard to work with Hongkun Park on a variety of projects, including nanowire devices, photoelectrochemistry, and plasmonics. de Leon discusses many exciting developments in NV centers, and she explains her decision to remain at Harvard for her postdoctoral research to do QED experiments with atoms. de Leon describes the opportunities that led to her faculty appointment at Princeton, and the process of getting her lab operational. She discusses advances in superconducting qubits and she describes the value of applying metrics to make STEM more inclusive. At the end of the interview, de Leon explains why her curiosity about applying material science to quantum technology permeates all her research, and she expresses optimism for the future, but unknown, possibilities of quantum computing.