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John Phillip Preskill Edit Profile

physicist , university professor

John Phillip Preskill, American physics professor. Recipient Presidential Young Investigator award National Science Foundation, 1984-1989; fellow National Science Foundation, 1975-1978, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, 1982-1986. Fellow American Physical Society.


Preskill, John Phillip was born on January 19, 1953 in Highland Park, Illinois, United States.


Bachelor of Arts in Physics, Princeton University, 1975. Master of Arts in Physics, Harvard University, 1976. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics, Harvard University, 1980.


His graduate adviser at Harvard was Steven Weinberg. While still a graduate student, Preskill made a name for himself by publishing a paper on the cosmological production of superheavy magnetic monopoles in Grand Unified Theories. Since we do not observe any magnetic monopoles, this work pointed out serious flaws in the then current cosmological models, a problem which was later addressed by Alan Guth and others by proposing the idea of cosmic inflation.

After three years as a junior fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows, Preskill became Associate Professor of Theoretical Physics at Caltech in 1983, rising to full professorship in 1990. Since 2000 he has been the Director of the Institute for Quantum Information at Caltech. In recent years most of his work has been in mathematical issues related to quantum computation and quantum information theory.

Hawking conceded the Thorne–Hawking–Preskill bet in 2004 and gave Preskill a copy of Total Baseball, The Ultimate Baseball Encyclopedia.


  • Preskill has achieved some notoriety in the popular press as party to a number of bets involving fellow theoretical physicists Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne.


Fellow American Physical Society.


Married Roberta M. Gross, June 22, 1975. Children: Carina Lou, Micaela Marie.

Roberta M. Gross

Carina Lou Preskill

Micaela Marie Preskill