Jakob Grzesik

2020 Hertz Fellow

By connecting engineering design and fundamental physics, Jakob Grzesik hopes to create new quantum-based technologies to address problems in energy, computation, and communication.

A senior completing dual degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics at Rice University, Jakob will pursue a PhD in electrical engineering/applied physics at Stanford University. He aims to apply his growing expertise in optical properties of nanoscale materials to develop novel photonic technologies for applications in quantum computation, communication, and energy.

Jakob was born into a family of immigrant biologists, which motivated his interest in the interaction between one’s cultural background and scientific pursuits. As a freshman, he pursued this interest by exploring his Japanese heritage and beginning research as a US Fellow in the Nakatani RIES program, where he developed a theoretical model of synchronization under Professor Riichiro Saito at Tohoku University in Japan. Studying parameters that affected the development of synchronization of coupled metronome oscillators, he discovered a formula that related the synchronization time of the system to its physical parameters, leading to peer-reviewed publication. Other undergraduate research efforts explored the intersection of materials science and photonics through projects involving both the classical and quantum properties of 2D semiconductors.

Most recently, Jakob has focused his research on carbon nanotubes (CNTs), the one-dimensional allotrope of carbon, under the advisement of Professor Junichiro Kono at Rice University. His current projects include the creation of computer-vision aided automation of aligned carbon nanotube growth for scalable thin film production, and observation of mixed-dimensional emitters in semiconducting CNT and 2D material heterostructures.

In addition to receiving various undergraduate research fellowships supporting nanoscience research, Jakob was awarded the Goldwater Scholarship in 2018.

Outside of the lab, Jakob enjoys exercising his dexterity through playing the piano and bouldering, a form of rock climbing on small formations or artificial rock walls without the use of ropes or harnesses.

"Science enables us to share the wonderful surprises in our world. I hope to broaden others’ perspectives and become part of a community that finds joy in what we can find through science."
– Jakob Grzesik

Graduate Studies

Stanford University
Electrical Engineering, Physics

Undergraduate Studies

Rice University


2016, 2018, 2019, President’s Honor Roll, Rice University

Related News

May 20, 2020
The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation has announced the 2020 recipients of the Hertz Fellowship. This year’s fellowships will fund 16 researchers whose goals range from developing more effective drugs to advancing artificial intelligence to creating a carbon-neutral future.