Stephan Hoyer bio photo

Stephan Hoyer

Physicist, data scientist and scientific Python developer.



I graduated from the University of Calfornia, Berkeley in 2013 with a Ph.D. in theoretical physics. My advisor was Birgitta Whaley.

Fenna-Matthews-Olson complex


My dissertation research was on the role of electronic quantum coherence in photosynthetic energy transfer:

  • Does quantum coherence contribute to biological function in photosynthesis?
  • How can we use statistics, optimization and quantum information theory to design ultrafast spectroscopy experiments on photosynthetic pigment-protein complexes?

My main model system was the Fenna-Matthews-Olson complex of green sulfur bacteria (shown above).

My work involved developing new mathematical techniques, more efficient computational methods and research software (mostly in Python). I collaborated with researchers in Taiwan, Germany, New York and Berkeley, wrote 6 papers and presented at 12 conferences. For the last three years of my program, I was supported by a fellowship from the US Department of Energy. I spent summer 2010 as an EAPSI fellow at National Taiwan Unviersity.


  1. S Jang, S Hoyer, G Fleming, KB Whaley. Generalized Master Equation with Non-Markovian Multichromophoric Förster Resonance Energy Transfer for Modular Exciton Densities, Phys Rev Lett 113, 188102 (2014). arXiv:1311.2091
  2. S Hoyer, F Caruso, S Montangero, M Sarovar, T Calarco, MB Plenio, KB Whaley, Realistic and verifiable coherent control of excitonic states in a light harvesting complex, New J Physics 16, 045007 (2014). arXiv:1307.4807
  3. S Hoyer and KB Whaley, Inverting pump-probe spectroscopy for state tomography of excitonic systems, J Chem Phys 138, 164102 (2013), arXiv:1209.6625. Mathematica source for dimer model in Sec. IV(A).
  4. S Hoyer, A Ishizaki and KB Whaley, Spatial propagation of excitonic coherence enables ratcheted energy transfer, Phys Rev E 86, 041911 (2012), arXiv:1106.2911
  5. S Hoyer, M Sarovar and KB Whaley, Limits of quantum speedup in photosynthetic light harvesting, New J Phys 12, 065041 (2010), arXiv:0910.1847
  6. S Hoyer and DA Meyer, Faster transport with a directed quantum walk. Phys Rev A 79, 024307 (2009), arXiv:0901.1007. Mathematica source for Fig. 2.

See my Google Scholar profile.

Writing from Swarthmore

At Swarthmore College, I majored in physics and minored in mathematics. Here are my final projects for each department: