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Prof. Dr.

Theodor W. Hänsch

Nobelpreis für Physik 2005

Wahljahr: 2005
Sektion: Physik
Stadt: München
Land: Deutschland
CV Theodor W. Hänsch - Englisch (pdf)


Theodor W. Hänsch is widely known for his seminal contributions in the field of laser spectroscopy. His early work includes the first narrowband tunable dye laser, the invention of commonly used techniques of Doppler-free laser spectroscopy, and the first proposal for laser cooling of atomic gases. Since the early 1970's, Hänsch has pursued precision spectroscopy of the simple hydrogen atom, which permits unique confrontations between experiment and fundamental theory. This work has yielded accurate values of the Rydberg constant, the Lamb shift of the hydrogen ground state, and the charge radii of proton and deuteron. More recently, he has pioneered the revolutionary frequency comb technique for measuring the frequency of light with ultrashort pulses. Exploring the quantum physics of cold neutral atoms, Hänsch and his coworkers have realized the first two- and three-dimensional atomic lattices bound by light, they have demonstrated the first atom laser that emits a continuous beam of coherent matter waves, and they have shown how to integrate a quantum laboratory for ultracold atoms on a microfabricated "atom chip". With a Bose-Einstein condensate in an optical lattice potential, they have been the first to observe a quantum phase transition between a wave-like superfluid state and a particle-like Mott insulator crystal. In 2005, Theodor W. Hänsch has been awarded the Physics Nobel Prize jointly with Roy Glauber and John L. Hall "for his contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the optical frequency comb technique".


  • since 1986 Director at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Garching, Germany; Professor of Physics, University of Munich, Germany
  • 1975-1986 Professor of Physics, Stanford University, USA
  • 1972-1975 Associate Professor of Physics, Stanford University, USA
  • 1969-1970 Assistant Professor, University of Heidelberg, Germany


  • since 2009 Scientific Advisory Board Member IQOQI, Innsbruck & Wien, Austria
  • since 2009 Chairman, Intl. Science Council King Abdullah Institute of Nanotechnology
  • since 2009 Chairman, Selection Committee BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Basic Sciences, Spain
  • since 2007 Research Council (Forschungsausschuß), University of Munich, Germany
  • since 2006 Directive Council (Kuratorium), Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany
  • since 2005 SUPA Advisory Committee, Scottish Universities Physics Alliance, Scotland
  • 2004 Assessment Committee, Physics Research, Universiteit van Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • 2004-2009 Advisory Board, Center for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Innsbruck
  • since 1999 Advisory Board, Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Germany
  • 1997 Arthur L. Schawlow Prize Committee (APS)
  • since 1996 Scientific Advisory Board, Max Born Institute, Berlin, Germany
  • 1994-1996 STAC Committee, VIRGO Gravitational Wave Observatory
  • since 1993 King Faisal International Prize Committee
  • since 1993 Executive Council, LENS, Florence, Italy

Honours and Memberships

  • 2011 Honorary Membership, Germany Physical Society (DPG)
  • 2010 Honorary Professor, National Chiang Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan
  • 2010 Honorary Chair Professor, University System of Taiwan
  • 2010 Advanced Grant, European Research Council
  • 2008 Honorary Doctorate, Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 2008 Orden pour le Mérite for Sciences and Arts
  • 2007 Medal De Scientia et Humanitate Meritis , Acad. Sci., Czech Republic
  • 2006 Grand Officer Cross (Order of Merit), Italy
  • 2006 Honorary Doctorate (Dr. rer. Nat. h. c.), Free University, Berlin, Germany
  • 2006 Honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Science), University of St. Andrews, UK
  • 2006 Ioannes Marcus Marci Medal, Czech Spectroscopic Society, Czech Republic
  • 2006 Order of Merit, Germany
  • 2006 Rudolf Diesel Gold Medal, German Institute of Interventions
  • 2006 Carl Friedrich von Siemens Prize and Chair
  • 2005 I. I. Rabi Award, IEEE
  • 2005 Frederic Ives Medal, Optical Society of America
  • 2005 Otto Hahn Prize, Germany
  • 2005 Bambi Award, Burda Media
  • 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics, jointly with Prof. J. L. Hall and Prof. R. Glauber
  • 2003 Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art, Germany
  • 2002 Matteucci Medal, Italian National Academy of Sciences
  • 2002 Alfried Krupp Prize for Science




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