Axiel Yael Birenbaum

they/them| She/Her

I’m queer and I’m a theoretical physicist. //


I’m a queer woman who’s lived in six countries, and is an immigrant like my parents and their parents before them. I consider myself fiercely European. Due to my undiagnosed dyslexia, I almost failed high school. Determination (aka ignoring others and myself doubting me) got me this far. My passion for the infinitely large and infinitely small was ignited when I was 4 years old by the wonderful short movie “Powers Of Ten” ( It opened my eyes to the beauty of abstraction and the diversity of scales in our Universe. Now I use the world’s largest supercomputers to understand materials one atom at a time. I can then design materials with the desired properties, often for energy applications. My work as a quantum physicist intersects with chemists, engineers, and computer scientists. I hope my story can inspire others who struggle, and for this endeavor to end feelings of isolation.