Christoph Simon

Christoph Simon


Full Member

Hotchkiss Brain Institute

Contact information

Web presence

Phone number

Office: +1 (403) 220-7007


Office: SB315


Educational Background

PhD Physics, Vienna University, 2000

MSc Theoretical Physics, École Normale Supérieure, 1997


Affiliations:  Institute for Quantum Science and Technology

Christoph Simon studied physics at the University of Vienna, obtained a master's degree at Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, and did a PhD with Anton Zeilinger at the University of Vienna. He was a postdoc with Dirk Bouwmeester in Oxford and at UC Santa Barbara. In 2004 he obtained a permanent research position with the French National Research Center (CNRS) in Grenoble. From 2006 to 2009, he spent three years as a senior researcher in Nicolas Gisin's group at the University of Geneva, while on leave from his CNRS position. He became an associate professor at the University of Calgary in 2009, and a professor in 2016.


Areas of Research


My primary research area is quantum information processing, which harnesses quantum physics for information processing tasks that are difficult or impossible using classical physics. I am interested in the question whether the brain might make use of quantum effects as well. When developing quantum technology, we often rely on photons and on spins in condensed matter systems. There is various experimental evidence that these types of quantum systems also play roles in the brain. Regarding photons, my group has shown in the past that axons could conceivably serve as photonic waveguides.

I have an active collaboration with Prof. Wilten Nicola on how such photonic channels might enable backpropagation of synaptic weight information in the brain, which could be valuable for learning. I have also been in discussion about potential biophoton experiments with Prof. Michael Colicos. In a collaboration with Prof. Daniel Oblak and Dr. Gabriele Bertolesi, we are currently attempting to observe biophotons from tadpole brains. Regarding spins, I have an active project on providing theoretical explanations for spin effects that have been observed in anesthesia. In addition to these ‘quantum neuroscience’ projects, I also have an active collaboration with Prof. Joern Davidsen on learning by Purkinje cells.   


Course number Course title Semester
PHYS 303 Quantum Mysteries and Paradoxes Fall


  • NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement, 2015
  • Faculty of Science Research Excellence Award, 2014
  • Nomination for Graduate Student Association Supervisory Excellence Award, 2014
  • Alberta Innovates - Technology Futures New Faculty Award, 2010