The researcher working at German universities received the Nobel Prize in physics.
After the Nobel Prize in Medicine was announced on Monday, the Nobel Prize in Physics followed on Tuesday, and the committee partially awarded the recognition to a Hungarian scientist again. In addition to Pierre Augistini, a researcher at Ohio University in the United States, and Anne L’Hullilier, a researcher at Lund University in Sweden, Ferenc Krausz, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics and the Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität in Munich, was awarded. The award was earned with attosecond physics, i.e. physical research examining events occurring below a billionth of a billionth of a second. The awardees will share 11 million Swedish crowns (a sum of HUF 368 million). The award is traditionally presented on December 10th, the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, who founded the award.
According to the website of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Ferenc Krausz is a Hungarian physicist born in Mór, who in 1985 simultaneously obtained an electrical engineering degree at the University of Technology and a physics degree at ELTE TTK. He began his research work at the BME Institute of Physics under the guidance of József Bakos in the field of laser physics. He obtained his doctorate at the Vienna University of Technology in 1991, where he later worked as an associate professor and then as a professor. In 2003, he was appointed director of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany, and since 2004 he has been the head of the Department of Experimental Physics at the Lajos-Miksa University in Munich.
Already at the beginning of the 1990s, the Hungarian-born physicist became the focus of his interest in examining smaller and smaller dimensions in space and time using ultra-short-duration light pulses. This was made possible by the explosive development of femtosecond laser technology at the time, in the improvement of which Ferenc Krausz took a pioneering role in close cooperation with the laser physics researchers of SZFKI (today’s Wigner FK). As a result of the research, the world’s first attosecond light pulses were produced and measured by Ferenc Krausz’s group in the early 2000s.
With this, Professor Krausz was able to make real-time observations of the movement of electrons on an atomic scale for the first time. Since then, the technique he developed has been used in the investigation of the time dependence of many atomic and molecular physical processes, such as photoionization. The results of Ferenc Krausz’s pioneering experimental work are utilized in several research institutes worldwide, including the ELI-ALPS Research Institute in Szeged. In his latest work, Ferenc Krausz examines the medical-diagnostic application of ultrafast measurement technology. He and his group use femtosecond and attosecond technology to analyze blood samples and detect small changes in their composition. The group is investigating whether these changes are specific enough to enable a clear diagnosis of cancerous diseases in their early stages. The clinical and laboratory part of the research is largely carried out at the Center for Molecular Fingerprinting in Hungary.
Ferenc Krausz was awarded the Wittgenstein Prize in 2002 and the Leibniz Prize in 2006. In 2013, he received the international Fejsál King Prize for his research in the field of attophysics. In 2013, he was recognized with the prestigious German scientific award, the Otto Hahn Prize, for his research in the field of atomic physics. In 2022, he was awarded the Wolf Prize in Physics for his pioneering work in ultrafast laser science and attosecond physics. Ferenc Krausz has been mentioned several times in recent years among the candidates for the Nobel Prize, including in 2015.
Photo: MTI – Tamás Kovács