Michael Nielsen

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Michael Nielsen
Michael Nielsen.jpg
Michael Nielsen talking at Science Online London 2011
Michael Aaron Nielsen

(1974-01-04) January 4, 1974 (age 47)
Alma materUniversity of New Mexico
AwardsRichard C. Tolman Prize Fellow at Caltech, Fulbright Scholar[1]
Scientific career
FieldsPhysics, Computer science
InstitutionsLos Alamos National Laboratory
University of Queensland
Perimeter Institute
Recurse Center
ThesisQuantum Information Theory (1998)
Doctoral advisorCarlton M. Caves[2]

Michael Aaron Nielsen (born January 4, 1974) is a quantum physicist, science writer, and computer programming researcher living in San Francisco.[3]


In 2004 Nielsen was characterized as Australia's "youngest academic" and secured a Federation Fellowship at the University of Queensland; the fellowship was for five years.[4] He worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, as the Richard Chace Tolman Prize Fellow at Caltech, and a Senior Faculty Member at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Nielsen obtained his PhD in physics in 1998 at the University of New Mexico.[2]

With Isaac Chuang he is the co-author of a popular textbook on quantum computing.[5] As of December 2019, the book was cited more than 36,000 times.[6]

In 2007, Nielsen announced a marked shift in his field of research: from quantum information and computation to “the development of new tools for scientific collaboration and publication”.[7] This work, for which he gave up a tenured academic position, includes "massively collaborative mathematics" projects like the Polymath project with Timothy Gowers.[8] Besides writing books and essays, he has also given talks about Open Science.[9] He was a member of the Working Group on Open Data in Science at the Open Knowledge Foundation.[10]

He is the author of Reinventing Discovery. The book gives an account of Nielsen's vision of open science and collective intelligence. The book was reviewed favorably in Nature and was named one of the best books of 2011 by the Financial Times.[11][12]

In 2015 Nielsen published the online textbook Neural Networks and Deep Learning. The same year he joined the Recurse Center as a Research Fellow.[13][14] Since 2017 Nielsen works as a Research Fellow at Y Combinator Research.[15]

In 2019 Nielsen collaborated with Andy Matuschak to develop Quantum Computing for the Very Curious, an interactive series of essays explaining quantum computing and quantum mechanics.[16] With Patrick Collison he researched whether scientific progress is slowing down.[17]

Nielsen resides in San Francisco.[18]


  • Nielsen, Michael A; Chuang, Isaac L., 1968- (2010), Quantum Computation and Quantum Information (New ed., 10th anniversary ed.), Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-1-107-00217-3CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  • Nielsen, Michael A. (2011). Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-14890-8. This book is based on themes that are also covered in his essay on the Future of Science.[19]
  • Nielsen, Michael A. (2015). Neural Networks and Deep Learning. Determination Press.
  • Nielsen, M. A. (2004). "The bits that make up the Universe". Nature. 427 (6969): 16–17. Bibcode:2004Natur.427...16N. doi:10.1038/427016b. (Review of Information: The New Language of Science (2003) by Hans Christian von Baeyer).


  1. ^ http://michaelnielsen.org/blog/michael-a-nielsen/ About Michael Nielsen
  2. ^ a b Michael Nielsen at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^ "The Recurse Center". Recurse Center. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  4. ^ Maiden, Samantha (17 June 2004). "'Footbal star' salaries to boost academic research". The Australian. Canberra, ACT. p. 4. ProQuest 357585672.
  5. ^ Nielsen, Michael A.; Chuang, Isaac L. (2000). Quantum Computation and Quantum Information. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-63235-5. OCLC 43641333.
  6. ^ Nielsen, Michael A.; Chuang, Isaac (2002). Quantum computation and quantum information. AAPT.
  7. ^ "Michael Nielsen » Changing fields". Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  8. ^ Gowers, T.; Nielsen, M. (2009). "Massively collaborative mathematics". Nature. 461 (7266): 879–881. Bibcode:2009Natur.461..879G. doi:10.1038/461879a. PMID 19829354.
  9. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnWocYKqvhw TEDxWaterloo - Michael Nielsen - Open Science
  10. ^ "Working Group on Open Data in Science". Archived from the original on 2 June 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2009.
  11. ^ Hannay, T. (2011). "A new kind of science?". Nature Physics. 7 (10): 742. Bibcode:2011NatPh...7..742H. doi:10.1038/nphys2109.
  12. ^ Wilsdon, James (28 October 2011). "Reinventing Discovery". Financial Times. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  13. ^ https://www.recurse.com/blog/93-why-research Recurse Center Blog
  14. ^ https://www.recurse.com/blog/83-michael-nielsen-joins-the-recurse-center-to-help-build-a-research-lab Recurse Center Blog
  15. ^ "Michael Nielsen's website". Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  16. ^ "Quantum Computing for the Very Curious". 18 March 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  17. ^ Nielsen, Patrick Collison, Michael (16 November 2018). "Science Is Getting Less Bang for Its Buck". The Atlantic. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  18. ^ "michael_nielsen (@michael_nielsen) | Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Michael Nielsen » The Future of Science". Retrieved 19 January 2009.

External links[edit]

Michael Nielsen's account on Twitter

Personal website of Nielsen