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Harvey Prize

Award for Immanuel Bloch

München, 06/03/2016

The Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) in Haifa honors LMU physicist Immanuel Bloch for “his fundamental contributions in the field of light and matter interactions in quantum many-body systems.”

Source: Thorsten Naeser

Professor Immanuel Bloch, who holds the Chair of Quantum Optics at LMU Munich and is a Director of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (MPQ) in Garching, is the recipient of one of the two Harvey Prizes in the fields of Science and Technology awarded this year by the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. According to the citation, the highly prestigious Prize is awarded to Bloch “in recognition of his fundamental contributions in the field of light and matter interactions in quantum many-body systems.” This year’s other Harvey Prize winner is the Harvard biochemist Professor Marc Kirschner.

In particular, the members of the Harvey Prize Council point to Bloch’s “pioneering experiments realizing quantum simulators using cold atoms trapped in crystals of light, thereby establishing a new research field at the interface of condensed matter, atomic physics, and quantum optics.” In his research, Bloch investigates how the microscopic interplay of many atoms leads to new collective properties of the whole quantum many-body system. To this end, he has designed and carried out a wide variety of experiments in his laboratories at the MPQ and LMU.

Ultracold atoms trapped in such crystals of light – so-called optical lattices – play the role of the electrons in solid-state crystals, except that the lattice spacings are about 10,000 times larger than those in real materials. With the aid of high-resolution optics, it is possible to produce direct snapshots of all atoms in the system, and to precisely control the atoms down to the level of single lattice sites. By working with these artificial quantum systems, Bloch’s group has succeeded in realizing new states of matter and investigating fundamental questions in various fields of physics, ranging from condensed-matter physics and statistical physics, through quantum optics to high-energy physics.

The Harvey Prize was initiated in 1972, and has been awarded annually since then for breakthroughs in science, technology and health. Immanuel Bloch will receive the Harvey Prize during an award ceremony at the Technion on 5 June 2016.