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Symposium for Theodor Hänsch

"Lessons from Ted"

München, 11/03/2016

Theodor Hänsch, Nobel Laureate in Physics, recently celebrated his 75th birthday. An upcoming symposium in his honor will be attended by former mentors, students and distinguished colleagues of his.

Symposium

Theodor Hänsch will not be the only Nobel Laureate on hand when leading physicists gather in Munich for a Symposium in honor of his 75th birthday (which actually fell on October 30th) and his numerous contributions to their field. Hänsch, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2005, holds a Chair in Experimental Physics at LMU, is a Director of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (MPQ) in Garching, and continues to lead an active research group devoted to laser spectroscopy and quantum physics. In fact, three other winners of the Nobel Physics Prize are on the list of speakers for the symposium, which was organized jointly by LMU, the Faculty of Physics at LMU and the MPQ, and takes place at LMU on November 18th and 19th.

One member of that trio is Steven Chu, who won his Nobel in 1997 and was Hänsch’s successor at Stanford University, following the latter’s departure to take up his new, dual appointment at LMU and the MPQ in 1986. John Hall of the University of Colorado in Boulder, a recognized expert in laser spectroscopy who (together with Roy Glauber of Harvard University) shared the Physics Nobel with Hänsch in 2005, has also agreed to speak at the birthday symposium in Munich, as has Serge Haroche of the Collège de France in Paris, who won the accolade in 2012 for his development of novel experimental methods for the study of the interactions of light and matter. The program for the symposium also features talks by former mentors and students of Hänsch, as well as his scientific contemporaries and colleagues. One of the lectures bears the telling title: “Simply Elegant: Lessons from Ted.”

See also “A Passion for Precision", a recent interview with Theodor Hänsch., in which he discusses not only his latest investigations, but also the experiments and insights that led to inventions like the frequency-comb generator for high-precision spectroscopy and metrology. He tells us too about his fascination with the aesthetics of measurement and his early years in the laser laboratories at Heidelberg and Stanford – and about his visits to Steve Jobs in Mountain View when Apple was still small enough to fit in a garage.