Nobel Prize awarded to Munich Scientist

2005 Nobel Prize for physics goes to Professor Theodor W. Hänsch
at the Ludwig Maximilian University Munich

Munich/New York October 4, 2022 — The 2005 Nobel Prize for Physics has been awarded
to Professor Theodor W. Hänsch from the Department of Physics at the Ludwig Maximilian
University (LMU) Munich.

The scientist will share half the award with the American
researcher John L. Hall. The Swedish Academy of Sciences is honoring the two physicists’
contribution to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy with which the color
of light from atoms and molecules can be determined with extreme accuracy. The other half
of the prize is going to American researcher Roy J. Glaubner, who also works in the field of
quantum physics.
Hänsch was born in Heidelberg in 1941. He received his doctorate in physics at the
University of Heidelberg and since 1986 has been a professor at LMU Munich and director
of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching near Munich. Among other
honors, Hänsch has received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Research
Association and the Philip Morris Research Prize. He has a Cross of Honor, 1st class from
the Federal Republic of Germany and the Bavarian Maximilian Medal for Science and Art.
This year, he also received the Otto Hahn Prize.
LMU Rector Professor Bernd Huber congratulated the freshly minted Nobel laureate, “An
exceptional scientist is being honored in the person of Theodor Hänsch, whose
groundbreaking work has become an indispensable part of modern science. We
congratulate him and his colleagues and celebrate with him, not least because this also
underlines the excellence of the sciences at LMU.”
The research
According to the jury, the important papers by Theodor Hänsch and John Hall have made it
possible to measure frequencies with a heretofore unknown precision of 15 places behind
the decimal point. Lasers with extreme color accuracy can now be built for it. The
frequency comb method developed by Hänsch allows the precise assessment of the whole
spectrum of light frequencies. For example, they make it possible to examine the stability of
natural constants over time. Thanks to this new method, the differences between matter
and antimatter can also be determined, hydrogen being of particular interest in this regard.
But it also enables the development better GPS technology, the satellite based navigation
system, and extremely precise clocks. The jury even predicts the introduction of a new
optical standard clock. There are also potential applications for telecommunication and
measurements over astronomical distances.
Nobel Price Recipients from Ludwig Maximilian University Munich
Theodor W. Hänsch is the 13th Nobel Price recipient from LMU. Hänsch takes his place
beside such renowned physicists as Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, Wilhelm Wien, Max von
Laue, Werner Heisenberg and Gerd Binnig. Binnig received the Nobel Price in physics in
1986 for the invention of Scanning Tunnelling Microscope.
Contact: German University Alliance
Irmintraud Jost
Phone: 212-758-3392

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