Christopher Panuski, PhD

2017 Hertz Fellow
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Christopher Panuski is a Naval cryptologist seeking to combine operational experience with technical expertise to solve complex national security issues.

Chris received bachelor’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and Physics from the United States Naval Academy in 2017, a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) from MIT in 2019, and a PhD in EECS from MIT in 2022. At the Naval Academy, his research ranged from radar signal processing algorithms to digital image reconstruction techniques and integrated photonic sensors.

With the support of the Hertz Foundation, he then joined MIT’s Quantum Photonics Group to explore high-speed programmable optics for beamforming, communications, and precision sensing. The results of these investigations – including the development of gigahertz-rate spatial light modulators, open-source holography software, and a new class of wavelength-scale optical sensors operating at their fundamental thermal noise limits – formed his doctoral thesis.

Chris is now returning to the Navy to work on the increasingly technical problems facing national security. Outside of the lab, he shares his passion for aviation as a volunteer flight instructor and enjoys exploring the relationship between leadership and innovation in technical organizations.

“Without the gracious support of the Hertz Foundation, I wouldn't have been able to pursue a PhD while continuing my naval career. The fellowship's freedom also empowered me to pursue an entirely new direction of study in my research group.”
– Christopher Panuski

Graduate Studies

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Electrical Engineering
Resonant Spatial Light Modulation: Optical Programming and Sensing at the Fundamental Limit