FedFaces: Joshua Bienfang, physicist, Department of Commerce
Joshua Bienfang: Physicist, Electron & Optical Physics Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Commerce
Best known for: Applying the principles of quantum physics to develop a way to send and receive 100 percent secure encrypted messages at record speeds using existing high-speed telecommunications technology. The cutting-edge achievement has potential implications for national security, the military, medical records privacy and commerce.
Government service: Bienfang worked from 2000 to 2002 at the Air Force Research Labs, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, before joining NIST in 2003 to work on high-speed quantum cryptography. Since 2005, he has been a physicist in the Electron and Optical Physics Division, continuing to research quantum communications.
Biggest challenge: The toughest part of the encryption project was developing a significant amount of custom-made, high-speed data-processing hardware and software to implement the communications protocol and encryption service, he says. From a personal standpoint, gaining proficiency and skill in all the required disciplines required a lot of work.
Quote: "Federal servants are rightly held to a high standard, and NIST has a uniquely strong culture of integrity and excellence in scientific research. Each day I feel lucky to have the opportunity to work on behalf of the United States of America, and to do so as part of the community at NIST is icing on the cake."
-- from the Partnership for Public Service
For more on Bienfang, go to washingtonpost.com/fedpage.