Daniel Carney

"We have to remember that what we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning." -Heisenberg


I am a theoretical physicist, originally trained in string-y physics and now working near the theory-experiment intersection. Starting May 2021, I will be a staff scientist (roughly equivalent to an associate professor) at Berkeley National Lab. Until then, I am a postdoc jointly affiliated to

I use ideas from quantum information science to learn about fundamental physics. One way I do this is to use information theory to study high energy and gravitational theory. Another is to study the ultimate quantum limits to the detectability of faint signals.

A central application of my work is to develop new ideas for experimental searches for new particles, quantum gravity, and other elusive detection targets. Ultimately, I strongly suspect that quantum limits to measurement will play a central role in the formulation of a consistent quantum model of general relativity (in our expanding universe), and I continue to work towards this goal. In the meantime, many of these ideas have applications beyond fundamental physics, particularly to problems in quantum metrology and computing.

You can see my full list of papers: google scholar or inspire. Some highlights:

With Cindy Regal (JILA), Dave Moore (Yale), and Gordan Krnjaic (Fermilab), I organized a workshop at Maryland's Joint Quantum Institute: "Quantum Optomechanical Architectures for Dark Matter Detection". Thanks to the APS and Moore Foundation, JQI, and JILA for supporting this!


2014-2017: Postdoctoral research fellow, Pacific Institute of Theoretical Physics @ University of British Columbia. (Supervisors: Philip Stamp, Bill Unruh).

2007-2014: PhD Physics, Weinberg Theory Group @ University of Texas at Austin. (Supervisors: Willy Fischler, Sonia Paban).

2003-2007: BS Physics, BA Math, University of Cincinnati.

2005: Foreign exchange student, NUPACE program @ Nagoya University, Japan.


I have a strong interest in teaching using methods supported by modern education research. In particular, I have been heavily involved with a number of inquiry-based learning projects (notably the UTeach program). Some examples from the ancient past where I had teaching duties:


Email: carney@umd.edu

Mailing address: 3105 Atlantic Building, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-2420