Eugene S. Polzik Named Recipient of 2020 Herbert Walther Award

Joint OSA, DPG award honors experimental quantum physicist’s groundbreaking contributions

WASHINGTON – The Optical Society (OSA) and the Deutsche Physikalische Gesell­schaft (DPG) have named OSA Fellow Eugene S. Polzik, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, the 2020 recipient of the Herbert Walther Award.

Polzik is recognized “for pioneering experimental contributions to quantum optics including the demonstration of spin squeezing and entanglement of atomic ensembles, quantum teleportation between light and matter, a quantum memory for light, and hybrid atomic-mechanical coupling.”

Caption: Herbert Walther Award 2020 Recipient Eugene Polzik

“The promise of quantum technologies is finally being realized in the fields of optics and photonics, thanks in no small part to the pioneering research of Eugene Polzik,” said 2020 OSA President Stephen Fantone. “He certainly is deserving of this important recognition and we congratulate him on receiving this honor.”

The award commemorates Max Planck Institute of Quantum Physics Professor Herbert Walther’s groundbreaking innovations in quantum optics and atomic physics as well as other wide-ranging contributions to the scientific community. The Herbert Walther Award, administered jointly by OSA and DPG, recognizes distinguished contributions in quantum optics and atomic physics as well as leadership in the international scientific community.

Polzik, professor of physics, Niels Bohr Institute at Copenhagen University, is an experimental quantum physicist who has made groundbreaking contributions within quantum optics with an emphasis on quantum state engineering and control of light and matter.

Polzik, a U.S. citizen, received M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from Leningrad (Saint Petersburg State) University, Russia, in 1976 and 1980, respectively. Upon completion of his Ph.D., he became an associate professor of physics at the Mining Institute in Leningrad. Since then, he has held a number of positions at the California Institute of Technology, U.S.A.; the University of Aarhus, Denmark; the Institute Henri Poincare, France; and the Institute for Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, Spain.

He has published more than 160 papers in refereed journals and given over 150 plenary and invited talks. His research has helped to lead the development of quantum optics throughout Europe, which includes his leadership of the “Quantum Information Processing and Communication in Europe (QUROPE)” project from 2006-2009. In Denmark, he established the first quantum-optics lab, and later the Danish Center for Quantum Optics (QUANTOP) at the University of Copenhagen.

Polzik has received many awards for his work, including the Danish Physical Society Prize, the Scientific American Research Leadership Award, the Gordon Moore Distinguished Scholar Award, and the Danish Academic Association Research Prize in Natural Sciences. He is a Fellow of OSA, the American Physical Society, and the Institute of Physics, and a member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.

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