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Jen Harlow, JILA Graduate, Dies at 33

Published: 05-16-2018

Dr. Jennifer (Jen) Harlow died on May 14, 2018. She earned her Ph.D. in physics at the University of Colorado Boulder, performing research in the lab of Konrad Lehnert, from 2007 to 2013. 

JILA graduate, Dr. Jennifer (Jen) Wightman Harlow, died in a rockfall accident on May 14, 2018. She was 33.

Jen came to JILA in 2007 after earning her A.B. in physics from Harvard University.

As a graduate student, Jen studied ultrasensitive measurement at the limits imposed by quantum mechanics in the lab of Konrad Lehnert. She graduated with her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2013. Her thesis was entitlted, “Microwave Electromechanics: Measuring and Manipulating the Quantum State of a Macroscopic Mechanical Oscillator.”

After graduating from JILA, Dr. Harlow moved to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to work for EGG-energy, a solar energy company. In 2015 she moved to Cape Town, South Africa, to join Dimagi as a field technology leader. There she provided technical solutions and capable building for various development organizations across Southern and Eastern Africa.

Coming from the mountains of California, Jen grew up with a love for hiking, running, swimming, and skiing. For much of her time in the U.S., Jen raced cross-country skis at the national level. Once in South Africa, she joined the Hiker’s Search and Rescue team, excited to spend time outdoors and keep others safe.

Friends of Jen at JILA knew her to be a steadfast individual with an infectious laugh. On top of spending time outdoors, Jen also enjoyed dancing, board games, and cooking. She formed many close friends at JILA.

A celebration of life will take place on August 4th at the Highlands Community Center in Tahoe City, CA. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Jen’s name to The Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team


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