DFG president congratulates Theodor Hänsch on winning the Nobel Prize for Physics

10/06/05

Leibniz prizewinner receives the highest scientific distinction

Professor Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, President of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), congratulated the Munich atomic physicist Professor Theodor W. Hänsch on winning the 2005 Nobel Prize in physics, which he shares with American scientists John L. Hall and Roy J. Glauber. In his congratulatory letter, Winnacker refers to the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, Germany's highest prize, which was awarded to Theodor Hänsch in 1989, and funded the work that led to his being awarded the Nobel Prize.

Theodor Hänsch is recognised as one of the world's leading pioneers in the field of optical and atomic physics. High-resolution spectroscopy on hydrogen atoms has been a constant theme throughout his scientific career. To this end he developed so-called Doppler-free spectroscopic methods, making it possible to measure frequencies with an accuracy that was previously unimaginable. He was also at the forefront in the field of cooling and storage of atoms, using diffraction grids as a new technology. The constant need to develop ever more sophisticated laser technology culminated in his work on optical frequency combs. This produced a fundamentally new quantum technology, which in future will advance the measurement accuracy even further. Hänsch's experiments are contributing significantly to the measurement of physical constants and a critical re-examination of the fundamental laws of physics.

Theodor Hänsch, Director of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching and Professor of Physics at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, has received funding from the DFG over the past 20 years in various programmes.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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