Ursula Keller wins “Swiss Nobel” Marcel Benoist Prize- for pioneering work in ultrafast lasers
MUST2022 Conference- a great success!
New scientific highlights- by MUST PIs Wörner, Chergui, and Richardson
FELs of Europe prize for Jeremy Rouxel- “Development or innovative use of advanced instrumentation in the field of FELs”
Ruth Signorell wins Doron prizefor pioneering contributions to the field of fundamental aerosol science
New FAST-Fellow Uwe Thumm at ETH- lectures on Topics in Femto- and Attosecond Science
International Day of Women and Girls in Science- SSPh asked female scientists about their experiences
New scientific highlight- by MUST PIs Milne, Standfuss and Schertler
EU XFEL Young Scientist Award for Camila Bacellar,beamline scientist and group leader of the Alvra endstation at SwissFEL
Prizes for Giulia Mancini and Rebeca Gomez CastilloICO/IUPAP Young Scientist Prize in Optics & Ernst Haber 2021
Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to RESOLV Member Benjamin List- for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis
NCCR MUST at Scientifica 2021- Lightning, organic solar cells, and virtual molecules


The 2021 Ernst Haage Award to Rebeca Gomez Castillo

Dr. Rebeca G. Castillo has been awarded with the Ernst Haage Prize 2021 for her PhD work on Advanced X-ray Spectroscopy Techniques and New Applications to Metalloenzymes. Rebeca received her PhD at the Max Planck Institute CEC in March 2021.

Ernst Haage Award
Details of the award ceremony


ICO/IUPAP Young Scientist Prize in Optics 2021 to Giulia Fulvia Mancini

Giulia Fulvia Mancini wins the 2021 Young Scientist Prize in Optics for her “contributions to imaging and scattering of nanostructured materials using high- harmonic soft X-ray sources and research on extreme ultraviolet imaging".

The IUPAP (International Union of Pure and Applied Physics) prize in optics is annually through ICO (International Commission for Optics) to a scientist who has made noteworthy contributions to applied optics and photonics during a maximum of 8 years of research experience after having earned a PhD degree.

Giulia Fulvia Mancini is now Associate Professor at the Physics Department of the University of Pavia (Italy), head of the Laboratory for Ultrafast X-ray and Electron Microscopy (LUXEM) and Principal Investigator of the ERC Starting Grant ULTRAIMAGE. She was Senior research Associate at LSU between 2017-2020 and she closely collaborates with the EPFL’s Lausanne Centre for Ultrafast Science (LACUS) through LaserLab Europe.


Jeremy Richardson wins the Hans G. A. Hellmann-Prize for theoretical chemistry

for his theoretical developments in the field of instanton theory for tunnel reactions in extended systems. Jeremy Richardson works on the development of new theoretical and computational methods for molecular simulations. The aim is to describe the underlying quantum dynamics as precisely as possible with efficient algorithms that are based solely on classical mechanics. In particular, he uses path integral methods as well as semiclassical instanton theory to predict tunnel effects in proton and electron transfer processes. In further projects, systems with coherent, non-adiabatic dynamics are described with the help of classical spin vectors.


Ursula Keller awarded Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus W. Quinn Prize 2020

Keller is honored in 2020 by the Optical Society (OSA), the leading global professional association in optics and photonics, for fundamental contributions to ultrafast lasers technology, especially in the development of high peak and average power oscillators and important breakthroughs in attosecond science. “Ursula Keller shines as an extraordinary leader in the optics and photonics community, providing fundamental research pivotal to the development of ultrafast lasers technology,” said 2020 OSA President Stephen D. Fantone, founder and president of the Optikos Corporation. “Keller’s many accomplishments have contributed to significant advancements in the field of applied optics.”

3 February, 2020

Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus W. Quinn Prize 2020

Ursula Keller wins the SPIE 2020 Gold Medal

For nearly three decades, the research of Ursula Keller, a professor of physics at ETH Zurich, has defined the revolution in ultrafast science and technology. She pioneered the semiconductor saturable absorber mirror (SESAM), which quickly became ubiquitous in useful ultrashort pulse laser systems. From 1993 onwards, with the research group that she built at ETH Zurich, she has led international state-of-the-art developments in ultrafast science through a comprehensive program of research, ranging from the technological development of SESAMs to shape and withstand millijoule femtosecond laser pulses, to fundamental science with the demonstration of the attoclock.

The SPIE Gold Medal is the highest honor the Society bestows. It is awarded in recognition of outstanding engineering or scientific accomplishments in optics, photonics, electro-optics, or imaging technologies and application.

SPIE News, ETH News, NovusLight Technologies Today,,

November 13, 2019.

Mildred Dresselhaus Prize for Ruth Signorell

Ruth Signorell is awarded the Mildred Dresselhaus Senior Award 2019 of the Hamburg Centre for Ultrafast Imaging (CUI). The prize is also linked to the Mildred Dresselhaus Guest Professorship at CUI. Ruth Signorell is an internationally recognized expert in physical chemistry with special interest in spectroscopy at the nanoscale and properties of molecular clusters and aerosol particles. She will receive the senior award for advancing the fundamental understanding of physical and chemical properties of aerosols and nanoparticles ubiquitous in our world.

November 7, 2019.

Former EPFL PhD student Edoardo Baldini wins four prizes

Since 2014, the APS has been awarding the Carl E. Anderson Division of Laser Science Dissertation Award, which recognizes outstanding doctoral research in the area of Laser Science. This year the award went to Edoardo Baldini, recognizing his PhD work carried out at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne under the supervision of Professors Majed Chergui and Fabrizio Carbone. This is the first time that the prize is awarded for research performed in a European institution. Baldini received the award at a special ceremony in Washington (DC) last September, during the Frontiers in Optics/Laser Science conference.

Since 1991, the Swiss Physical Society (SPS) has been awarding prizes in various categories, donated by various renowned institutions and companies. This year, the Award in Condensed Matter Physics, which is sponsored by IBM, went to Edoardo Baldini who carried out his PhD at the EPFL under the supervision of Professors Majed Chergui and Fabrizio Carbone in the framework of the NCCR MUST.

Currently at MIT, Baldini also won a Chorafas Prize (2017) and a Springer Prize for his PhD thesis, “Nonequilibrium Dynamics of Collective Excitations in Strongly Interacting and Correlated Quantum Systems”.
EPFL News (APS), EPFL News (SPS)

October 24, 2019.

Ruth Signorell wins the Humboldt Research Award

The Humboldt Research Award is granted in recognition of a researcher's entire achievements to date to academics whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-​edge achievements in the future. In addition, award winners are invited to spend a period of up to one year cooperating on a long-​term research project with specialist colleagues at a research institution in Germany. The award is valued at € 60.000. Ruth Signorell will be hosted by Prof. Dr. Thomas Leisner of Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), during Humboldt sponsorship.

Alexander from Humboldt Foundation & ETH News

October 2019.

Ursula Keller elected for the American Physics Society (APS) International Council

In the general elections of the American Physics Society, Ursula Keller was elected International Councilor. The motivation for Ursula Keller to serve on the APS International Council is summarised with her "Candidate Keller Statement” on the ULP News link below.

APS General Elections, ULP News

August 9, 2019.

Heriot-​Watt University - Honorary degree of Doctor of Science awarded to Ursula Keller

Heriot-​Watt University nominated Professor Keller for the highest honour it can bestow on someone outside of the institution, in recognition of her pioneering contributions and revolutionary approach to the field of ultrafast lasers and photonics. Professor Doctor Ursula Keller is the first female full professor in the Physics Department at ETH Zurich and Director of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research on Ultrafast Molecular Sciences and Technologies (NCCR MUST).

Professor Keller’s research interests include exploring and pushing the frontiers of ultrafast science and technology. Her first invention, the Semiconductor Saturable Absorber Mirror (SESAM) allowed ultrafast lasers to move from the laboratory to real-world applications, benefitting scientists, manufacturers and surgeons alike. 

Heriot-Watt University news

June 17, 2019.

Giulia Mancini (EPFL) wins ERC starting grant and VIDI grant

Dr. Mancini, currently in Majed Chergui's group, has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant for her project entitled 'Advanced EUV/soft X-ray microscopy in the ultrafast regime: imaging functionality of nanomaterials across length scales' (ULTRAIMAGE). ULTRAIMAGE tackles the need for novel strategies in the characterization of functional nanomaterials, through the study of their fundamental structure-property relationships. Key to this advance is the development of innovative imaging modalities, which combine ultrahigh resolution in both time and space. The insights from the research will enable a better understanding of fundamental nanoscale behaviour, vital to a better design of energy-efficient next generation devices.

In addition, Dr. Mancini has also been awarded the VIDI grant (800,000 euros) from the Dutch Research Council. She will move to the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials (RUG) in the Netherlands for her professorship.

Majed Chergui wins RSC Liversidge Award

Professor Chergui, of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, has won the award for pioneering picosecond and femtosecond X-ray spectroscopy of molecular species in solutions.

Receiving the award, Professor Chergui said: “I am very honoured to receive the Royal Society of Chemistry Liversidge Award. This award acknowledges the insights delivered by ultrafast X-ray spectroscopic methods into the dynamics of chemical bonds in a large variety of systems: proteins, molecules and materials. This area of research, on which my group worked for the past 20 years, has reached a turning point with new instrumentation being developed world-wide, I look forward to sharing some highlights from my group’s research during the lecture tour.”

Professor Chergui lives in Lausanne, Switzerland. In winning the award, Professor Chergui also receives £2,000 and a medal.


May 7, 2019

IEEE Edison Medaille awarded to Ursula Keller for Lifetime Achievements

As part of last week's Honors Ceremony of the IEEE in San Diego (US), ETH physics professor Ursula Keller received the Edison Medal, in recognition of her innovations that have pushed the frontiers in ultrafast science and technology.

The IEEE Honors Ceremony is a part of the IEEE Vision, Innovation, and Challenges (VIC) Summit, which – according to their website – "brings together leading innovators, visionaries, and disruptors in technology to discuss, explore, and uncover what is imminent, what is possible, and what these emerging technologies mean for our future." The highlight of the event is the awards ceremony, in which the IEEE Medals and Recognitions recipients are celebrated.

Among those whose achievements were recognised this year was Ursula Keller, head of the Ultrafast Laser Physics Group at the Institute for Quantum Electronics of ETH Zurich. For her career achievements, she was awarded the 2019 IEEE Edison Medal. The medal has been presented since 1909, to an individual for a career of meritorious achievement in electrical science, electrical engineering, or the electrical arts.

An IEEE Fellow and recipient of the Optical Society’s Charles H. Townes Award (2015) and the 2018 IEEE Photonics Award, Keller is director of the Swiss National Centre of Competence for Research in Molecular Ultrafast Science and Technology (NCCR MUST) at ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.

D-Phys News - IEEE Edison Medal

May 23, 2019.

Christoph Bostedt elected Fellow of the American Physical Society

Christoph Bostedt, Head of the Laboratory for Femtochemistry, was named APS Felllow in 2018. In May 2019, he received his fellowship certificate at the 50th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (DAMOP)(link is external) APS Meeting in Milwaukee.

Professor Bostedt is an expert on ultrafast x-ray sciences with applications to atomic, molecular, and optical physics as well as physical chemistry. He uses intense, femtosecond x-ray pulses from novel free-electron laser sources to image the structure and non-equilibrium dynamics in nanometer-sized particles. He further develops novel non-linear x-ray spectroscopy approaches to investigate electronic and nuclear dynamics in atoms, molecules, and clusters. The APS citation for Professor Bostedt reads: “For pioneering studies that elucidate the mechanisms and dynamics of high-intensity x-ray interactions with nanoparticles”.

May 22, 2019.

Ursula Keller wins the European Inventor Lifetime Achievement Award 2018

ETH physicist Ursula Keller has received the European Inventor Award in Paris for her research into ultrafast lasers. It is Europe’s highest accolade for inventors from around the world.
Since 2006, the European Patent Office has been presenting the annual Inventor Award to people whose ideas and creativity have significantly advanced the development of innovative products. This year’s recipients include a physicist from ETH Zurich: Ursula Keller, Professor of Ultrafast Laser Physics, was selected by the jury in the lifetime achievement category for her work on ultrafast lasers.
Ursula Keller's semiconductor saturable absorber mirror (SESAM), which she invented in 1992 while working at AT&T Bell Laboratories, provided a practical method to create extremely short, energetic bursts of laser light. Thanks to her developments, lasers can now produce short bursts ranging in duration from picoseconds (10-12 seconds) to femtoseconds (10-15 seconds) and repeating up to several billion times a second.
Ultra-fast Femto-Lasik for eye surgery is able to make tiny incisions with no risk of damaging nearby tissue. Similarly, cancerous tissue can be cut away without searing neighbouring healthy cells. And the technology has opened up numerous machining and material-processing applications that are vital to the automotive and electronics industries.
In her role as a physics professor at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zurich, Keller has further refined and developed the SESAM concept, widening it to include more types of laser; in addition, she has developed precise scientific measuring equipment that explores the wonders of the universe down to the quantum level.

See also: European Patent Organisation, ETH News, Laser Focus World, NZZ article about the nomination, NZZ, SwissInfo, EuroNews, Interview on SRF (audio), Aargauer Zeitung (in German), short movie on Watson (SRF, in German),, and many others.

And: Women Dominate Prestigious European Inventor Award (Science Museum London)

June 7, 2018.

Hans Jakob Wörner wins the 2018 Coblentz Award

June 2018
The Coblentz Society will present the 2018 Coblentz Award to Prof. Hans Jakob Wörner at the International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy (ISMS) in June 2018

The research of Prof.Wörner is dedicated to attosecond time-resolved spectroscopy of molecules. His research group has developed several new techniques for measuring the electronic dynamics of molecules on sub-femtosecond and attosecond time scales. In particular, his group has reported the first measurements of attosecond charge migration in molecules, attosecond photoionization delays in molecules and femtosecond soft-X-ray transient absorption spectroscopy. The group of Prof. Wörner has further realized the first attosecond time-resolved measurements in the liquid phase by coupling an attosecond light source to a liquid microjet.

Prof. Wörner’s contributions to science have been recognized by many prizes, including the Coblentz Award (2018), an ERC Consolidator Grant (2017), the Carus medal (2016), the Klung-Wilhelmy Science award (2014), the Broida Prize (2013), the Nernst-Haber-Bodenstein prize (2013), an ERC Starting Grant (2012), the Grammaticakis-Neumann Prize (2012), the Göttingen Academy Prize (2012) and the Ruzicka Prize (2012). Prof. Wörner is an elected member of the German Young of Sciences and Humanities (Die Junge Akademie).

Coblentz Award


Majed Chergui wins the Khwarizmi International Award 2018

March 2018

Professor Majed Chergui is one of the five laureates of the 2018 Khwarizmi International Award.

The Khwarizmi International Award (KIA) was established in 1987 in memory of Abu Jafar Muhammad Ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi (ca. 780-850 AD), the famous Iranian mathematician, astronomer, and geographer whose name (latinized into Algoritmi) gave us the term “algorithm”.

The KIA is given annually by the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST), which is affiliated with Iran’s Ministry of Science, Research and Technology. Originally intended to recognize outstanding achievements in science and technology by Iranian citizens, by 1997 the KIA expanded its scope to also include foreign candidates.

Professor Chergui received the KIA 2018 in the category of Fundamental Research under the title “Unravelling the fundamentals of solar materials”. An internationally renowned expert in ultrafast spectroscopy, Professor Chergui directs EPFL’s Laboratory of Ultrafast Spectroscopy, which carries out ultrafast-UV and X-ray spectroscopy studies on chemical and biological systems. Chergui is also a founding Editor-in-chief of the journal Structural Dynamics, a flagship journal of the American Institute of Physics and the American Crystallographic Association. His lab is also part of the Lausanne Centre for Ultrafast Science (LACUS).


Peter Hamm selected as the 2018 recipient of the Ellis R. Lippincott Award (OSA)

March 2018
Peter Hamm is being recognized “for seminal contributions to developing multidimensional infrared, Raman and Terahertz spectroscopy and pioneering studies of protein and hydrogen bonding dynamics in molecular liquids.”

The Ellis R. Lippincott Award was established in 1975 by The Optical Society, the Coblentz Society, and the Society for Applied Spectroscopy to honor the unique contributions of Ellis R. Lippincott to the field of vibrational spectroscopy. It is presented to an individual who has made significant contributions to vibrational spectroscopy as judged by his or her influence on other scientists. Because innovation was a hallmark of Lippincott's work, this quality must also be demonstrated by candidates for the award. This award consists of a crystal box, a certificate and a $1,500 honorarium.

Ursula Keller awarded the IEEE Photonics Award 2018

February 2018

A pioneer in the field of ultrafast lasers, Ursula Keller has revolutionized photonics and enabled important scientific and industrial applications in physics, chemistry, and biology. Keller developed the semiconductor saturable absorber mirror (SESAM) for generating ultrashort pulses, which transformed femtosecond lasers from complex devices only used by specialists to reliable instruments suitable for use in any general-purpose scientific laboratory and industrial applications. Most ultrashort lasers today utilize her SESAM mode-locking technology for optical communication, precision measurements, microscopy, ophthalmology, and micromachining applications. Her work has also enabled the optical frequency comb revolution and the invention of the attoclock to resolve electron tunneling a highly debated topic ever since the early days in quantum mechanics. Keller’s development of carrier phase stabilization and frequency comb technology during the 1990s was integral to Hänsch and Hall’s development of laser-based spectroscopy that garnered the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics.

An IEEE Fellow, Keller is a professor in the physics department at ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland and serves as a director of the Swiss research program NCCR MUST in ultrafast science.

Jean-Pierre Wolf to Receive ZEISS Research Award

February 2018

Jean-Pierre Wolf, Professor at the Biophotonics Institute at the University of Geneva, will be honored for his groundbreaking application of ultra-short, ultra-intense laser pulses in researching the earth’s atmosphere. His research makes it possible to find out more about pollutants in the earth’s atmosphere and potentially control lightning and condensation in clouds. This could even make it possible to prevent extreme weather. The focus of his research efforts has been on the applications of ultra-short spectroscopy for biological, medical and environmental research.

The awards will be presented during the ZEISS Symposium “Optics in the Quantum World” on 18 April 2018 at the ZEISS Forum in Oberkochen.

Majed Chergui elected to the Royal Academy of Sciences of Spain

February 2018

Professor Majed Chergui was elected as successor to Ahmed Zewail (1999 Chemistry Nobel Laureate). He directs EPFL’s Laboratory of Ultrafast Spectroscopy, which pursues a variety of ultrafast UV and X-ray spectroscopic studies on chemical and biological systems. Chergui is also a founding Editor-in-chief of the journal Structural Dynamics, a flagship journal of the American Institute of Physics and the American Crystallographic Association. His lab is also part of the Lausanne Centre for Ultrafast Science (LACUS).

The Royal Spanish Academy of Sciences was founded in the 16th century, and currently counts 54 Full Members, 90 National Correspondents, and Foreign Correspondents, which include several Nobel Prize winners ( 


Peter Hamm elected Fellow of The Optical Society (OSA)

October 2017

The Board of Directors of The Optical Society (OSA) elected Peter Hamm a Fellow of the Society at its October 16, 2017 meeting. Peter Hamm is being honored specifically for groundbreaking contributions in the development of multi-dimensional vibrational spectroscopy, that opened a new era in the study of structure and dynamics of molecular systems on all levels.

Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional association in optics and photonics, home to accomplished science, engineering, and business leaders from all over the world. Through world-renowned publications, meetings, and membership programs, OSA provides quality information and inspiring interactions that power achievements in the science of light.

Edoardo Baldini awarded a 2017 Chorafas Prize

August 2017

Dr. Edoardo Baldini is awarded a 2017 Chorafas Prize "for outstanding work in selected fields in the engineering sciences, medicine and the natural sciences" related to his doctoral thesis.

The Dimitris N. Chorafas Foundation awards scientific prizes for outstanding work in selected fields in the engineering sciences, medicine and the natural sciences. It rewards research characterized by its high potential for practical application and by the special significance attached to its aftermath.  Every year, partner universities in Europe, North America and Asia evaluate the research work of their graduating doctorate students and propose the best for prizing. Depending on the years of association with the Foundation and the size of the sample from which the best researcher is chosen (which must be statistically valid), some partner universities receive two prizes per year; others have one annual prize. The Foundation prizes the best doctoral student(s) in the Hard Sciences in each partner university. These annual awards are of $5,000 each.

Ursula Keller wins the Weizmann Women and Science Award

June 2017

Prof. Ursula Keller received the prize “for pioneering and seminal contributions to ultrafast lasers technology and important breakthroughs in attosecond science”.

The Weizmann Women & Science Award is a biennial award established in 1994 that honors an internationally renowned woman scientist who has made significant contributions in their respective fields, as well as to the scientific community in general. The objective of the award, which includes a $25,000 research grant for the recipient, is to promote women in science, and to provide a strong role model to motivate and encourage the next generation of young women scientists. The award winner is invited to the Institute for an award ceremony and a lecture Weizmann.

Fabrizio Carbone receives the EPFL Latsis Award 2016

October 2016

Microscopy is among the most dated techniques for observing nature at scales below the human eye’s abilities. Pictures of cells, viruses, microelectronic circuits or nano-­‐objects can be routinely obtained. In recent years, movies of molecular motions all the way down to the atomic spatial and temporal scale have been obtained with ultrafast X-­‐ray photons or electron sources. In our laboratory, we employ electron-­‐based techniques to film the transformation of materials and nanostructures upon light excitation. In particular, we can record movies of a form of light termed surface plasmon polariton (SPP), which holds promise for future applications in optoelectronic circuits.

Thanks to our novel methodology that allows to take snapshots of plasmonic fields projected onto space and energy coordinates, simultaneous spatial and spectroscopic information can be gained, providing a unique insight into the properties of electromagnetic fields confined in spaces smaller then their wavelength. Besides the ability of this technique to characterize SPPs, it also allowed to provide a snapshot of the electromagnetic field in which both its interference and quantization properties are visible. The use of light as a control parameter was also shown to allow for the spatial manipulation of such plasmonic fields in single nano-­‐wires and nano-­‐cavities.

Majed Chergui elected Fellow of The Optical Society (OSA)

October 2016

The Board of Directors of The Optical Society (OSA) elected Majed Chergui a Fellow of the Society at its October 19, 2016 meeting in San Jose, California. He is being recognized for “For pioneering ultrafast X-ray spectroscopy and for his major contributions to the development of ultrafast deep-ultraviolet spectroscopy, which he used to address fundamental light-induced processes in molecules, proteins and materials.”

Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional association in optics and photonics, home to accomplished science, engineering, and business leaders from all over the world. Through world-renowned publications, meetings, and membership programs, OSA provides quality information and inspiring interactions that power achievements in the science of light.

Doron prize for Prof. Ursula Röthlisberger

March 2016

Professor Dr. Ursula Röthlisberger is a professor of computational chemistry and biochemistry at the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). In her area of research, she deals with the development of new methods of simulation for chemical and biological systems. With her research work, she has made an outstanding contribution to the development of complex, computer-aided multiscale simulation methods and their application in physical, chemical and biochemical systems.

Marc Rich established The Swiss Foundation for the Doron Prize in 1986 to annually recognize and support Swiss individual initiatives and charitable endeavors. Selection is made by the board members of the Foundation, composed of distinguished Swiss public leaders from the civic and non-profit sectors. The annual award ceremony with key Swiss leaders and media serves to highlight and increase awareness of the important work of prize recipients. Awardees receive CHF 100'000.

Thomas Feurer elected Fellow of The Optical Society (OSA)

January 2016

The Board of Directors of The Optical Society (OSA) elected Thomas Feurer a Fellow of the Society at its October 20th meeting in San Jose, California. He is being recognized for pioneering contributions to multi-dimensional shaping of ultrafast light pulses, THz nanophotonics, optical fiber lasers and applications.

Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional association in optics and photonics, home to accomplished science, engineering, and business leaders from all over the world. Through world-renowned publications, meetings, and membership programs, OSA provides quality information and inspiring interactions that power achievements in the science of light.

Ursula Röthlisberger receives EuCHeMS lecture award 2015

November 2015

The EuCheMS Lecture Award serves to strengthen the image of EuCheMS and of European chemistry in general, promoting scientific cooperation among chemists in Europe. The Lecture is normally awarded annually to a prominent chemist from a European country.

Ursula Keller receives Geoffrey Frew Travelling Fellowship

November 2015

Ursula Keller presented the plenary talk at the annual meeting of the Australian Academy of Sciences in 2015 and will visit different scientific centers in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney with different seminars and one public talk about her work during April 5-15, 2016.

The Frew Fellowship was initiated in 1970 through a personal donation from Mr G S V Frew, Chair of Varian Techtron Pty Ltd. Fellowships are awarded to distinguished overseas scientists to participate in the Australian Spectroscopy Conferences and to visit scientific centres in Australia. Conferences are held biennially.

Peter Kraus received the Justin Jankunas Doctoral Dissertation Award

September 2015
The winner of the Justin Jankunas Doctoral Dissertation Award in Chemical Physics is Dr. Peter Kraus for his dissertation, “Studies of Electronic and Nuclear Structure and Dynamics by High Harmonic Spectroscopy,” which he wrote under the direction of Prof. Hans Jakob Wörner at ETH Zürich. Dr. Kraus was born in Marburg, Germany, where he attended the Philipps-University in Marburg from 2007 until 2010, earning his bachelor degree in chemistry working with Prof. Karl-Michael Weitzel.
Peter Kraus subsequently moved to ETH Zürich, where he earned his master’s degree in 2011 with a thesis exploring the generation and characterization of few-cycle mid-infrared laser pulses for high-harmonic spectroscopy, working with Prof. Hans Jakob Wörner.Peter stayed in the group of Prof. Wörner at ETH Zürich for his PhD studies, during which he advanced the techniques of high harmonic-spectroscopy for investigations of electronic and nuclear structure and dynamics of molecular systems. These advances enabled the study of valence—shell electron currents in neutral molecules on the femtosecond time scale as well as the measurement and laser control of attosecond-time-scale electronic charge migration. Peter is currently working with Prof. Stephen Leone and Prof. Daniel Neumark at the University of California, Berkeley on the development of new experimental techniques for investigating attosecond phenomena in solid-state materials.
The Justin Jankunas Doctoral Dissertation Award is given out by the Division of Chemical Physics of the American Physical Society (APS).

Hans Jakob Wörner receives the Carus medal of the Leopoldina

September 2015

Founded in 1652, the Leopoldina is one of the oldest academies of science in the world. It is dedicated to the advancement of science for the benefit of humankind and to the goal of shaping a better future. With some 1,500 members, the Leopoldina brings together outstanding scientists from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and many other countries.

The Carus Medal was first awarded in 1896, and honors significant achievements by younger scientists in an area covered by the Leopoldina.

From the press release: "Prof. Dr. Hans Jakob Wörner (1981) is one of the outstanding physicochemists of his age-group world-wide. Using spectroscopic methods he studies chemical reactions at the molecular level. Wörner was one of the first scientists to observe the time-dependent quantum dynamics of electron-movement in molecules at the sub-femtosecond time range in experimental studies. With these research he has opened new horizons on chemical reaction dynamics, which could lead to new developments in the ultrafast sciences.  

Majed Chergui wins the Edward Stern Prize

September 2015

From the EPFL website: Majed Chergui has been awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award (Edward Stern Prize) from the International X-Ray Absorption Society (IXAS).

IXAS is an international scientific organization that represents scientists working on the field of structural analysis of molecules, materials and proteins using inner shell excitations induced by X-rays (or electrons). It was officially founded in 1994 following several informal X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (XAFS) conferences in the growing field of X-ray absorption spectroscopy.

The Edward Stern Prize represents the highest honor given by the Society. Winners are recommended by the IXAS Awards Committee and approved by the IXAS Executive Committee. The IXAS Awards Committee invites nominations from both experimental and theoretical studies of XAFS. The Prize is awarded every third year on the occasion of the XAFS conference to two scientists for lifetime achievements.

Majed Chergui is Professor of Physics and Chemistry at EPFL, where he pursues a variety of ultrafast UV and X-ray spectroscopic studies on chemical and biological systems. Since 2013, he has been founding Editor-in-chief of the journal Structural Dynamics, published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) and the American Crystallographic Association (ACA). With the Edward Stern Prize, the IXAS committee recognizes Majed Chergui “for his pioneering work in the field of time-resolved X-ray absorption spectroscopy.”

2015 Sofja Kovalevskaja Award for Clara Saraceno

August 2015

The Sofja Kovalevskaja Award is awarded to successful top-rank junior researchers from abroad, who completed their doctorate with distinction in the last six years, and have published work in prestigious international journals or publishing houses. The Sofja Kovalevskaja Award allows the researcher to spend five years building up a working group and to work on a high-profile, innovative research project of their own choice at a research institution of your own choice in Germany.

Scientists and scholars from all disciplines may apply directly to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The Humboldt Foundation plans to grant up to eight Sofja Kovalevskaja Awards. The award is valued at up to 1.65 million EUR.

Clara Saraceno works in Prof. Ursula Keller's group and will move to Ruhr-Bochum University to build up her own group.

Elisabeth Bothschafter was awarded the Otto Hahn Medal by the Max Planck Society

June 2015

This year, the Max Planck Society has awarded the Otto Hahn Medal 2014 to thirty young scientists who have completed their doctoral thesis, including three from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics: Elisabeth Bothschafter, Andreas Reiserer, and Michael Krüger. Since 1978 the Max Planck Society has presented this honour annually to around 30 junior scientists for ground-breaking scientific achievements connected to their doctoral thesis. The award is intended to encourage highly talented people to decide for a career in fundamental research.

Dr. Elisabeth Bothschafter receives the Otto Hahn Medal for “Investigations of the non-linear interaction of light and matter in dielectric materials on the attosecond time-scale”. Now she has a postdoc position in the group of Dr. Urs Staub at the “Swiss Light Source” at the Paul-Scherrer-Institut (Villigen, Switzerland).

Ursula Röthlisberger elected to the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences

June 2015

The 2015 annual meeting of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences was held in Beijing on June 7 and 8. The annual IAQMS medal was awarded to Katarzyna Pernal of Poland, and six new members were elected: Thom Dunning, Peter Gill, Anna Krylov, Ursula Rothlisberger, Sason Shaik, and Arieh Warshel. All seven persons honored have accepted.


Majed Chergui elected EPS Fellow

June 2015

From the EPFL website: Professor Majed Chergui has been elected a Fellow of the European Physical Society.

The EPS is a major non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote physics and physicists in Europe. Founded in 1968, it includes members from 42 National Physical Societies in Europe, individuals from all fields of physics, and European research institutions, such as the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft, the world's largest organization of physicists. The EPS also publishes Europhysics Letters, Europhysics News, and the European Journal of Physics.

Majed Chergui is Professor of Physics and Chemistry at EPFL, where he pursues a variety of ultrafast UV and X-ray spectroscopic studies on chemical and biological systems. Since 2013, he has been Editor-in-chief of the open-access journal Structural Dynamics, created by the American Institute of Physics and the American Crystallographic Association.

With his election as Fellow, the EPS recognizes Professor Chergui “for his pioneering of novel ultrafast X-ray and ultraviolet spectroscopic tools, for the study of molecular and biomolecular dynamics in solutions, and for his engagement in promoting science in the developing world and in Europe.”

Ursula Keller receives the 2015 Charles H. Townes Award of OSA

May 2015

Ursula Keller has received the prestigious 2015 Charles H. Townes Award of OSA "for seminal contributions in the fields of octave-spanning lasers, frequency comb technology, and high repetition-rate ultrafast semiconductor disc lasers". Professor Ursula Keller’s area of expertise is ultrashort laser pulses. Together with her group at ETH, she is currently developing new metrology techniques and novel semiconductor lasers that might well find application in every household.

The award was established in 1980 to honor Charles Hard Townes, whose pioneering contributions to masers and lasers led to the development of the field of quantum electronics. It is given to an individual or a group of individuals for outstanding experimental or theoretical work, discovery or invention in the field of quantum electronics. Bell Laboratories originally endowed the award. Hewlett-Packard, The Perkin Fund, and students and colleagues of Charles Townes contributed generously in a Townes Award Endowment Campaign.

Natalie Banerji was awarded the 2015 Grammaticakis-Neumann Prize

April 2015

The Grammaticakis-Neumann Prize is awarded to a promising young scientist for outstanding independent research in photochemistry, photophysics or molecular photobiology. At the time of the award the candidate may not be a tenured professor or a person in a higher position in industry, and should be younger than 40. The prize is awarded annually.

Natalie Banerji leads the FemtoMat Group since September 2014. She has been nominated as tenured Associate Professor at the University of Fribourg and also obtained a Stipend Professorship Grant (1.6 mio CHF) by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Previously, she was an Ambizione Fellow at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, 2011-2014). She has obtained her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry in 2009 from the University of Geneva (with Prof. Eric Vauthey) and has spent two years as a Post-Doctoral Researcher at UC Santa Barbara with Prof. Alan Heeger.

AME GmbH won the Bern Business Creation Competition

March 2015

AME GmbH is a new start-up company from the Feurer group.

Over the last decades, additive manufacturing - commonly known as 3D printing - has emerged as a promising fabrication technology, offering opportunities from research to engineering. The different additive manufacturing technologies offer a wide range of printable polymers. In general, these polymers happen to be transparent for radiation in the terahertz frequency regime. Furthermore, the manufacturing resolution of the machines fulfills surface roughness requirements for these frequencies. Hence an opportunity to print optical elements for THz setups presents itself. The goal of AME GmbH is to explore these possibilities in collaboration with the University of Bern. They strive to apply the unique qualities of additive manufacturing to develop optical elements such as waveguides, lenses, mirrors as well as more complex integrated optical systems. In addition, different coatings and after-treatments will be employed to match desired properties.

Dr. Wahb Ettoumi (Jean-Pierre Wolf) won the Prix Le Monde de la recherche universitaire

December 2014

The prize, awarded by the Ecole Polytechnique, rewards a thesis work mixing statistical physics of the long-range systems, non-linear dynamics and plasma physics. Wahb Ettoumi has developed a new approach to estimate the lifetimes of quasi stationary states that are states where the dynamics appears frozen without statistical equilibrium being reached. In some mean-field systems with N particles, an intriguing scaling law of the lifetimes in N^{1.7} got its first explanation in the article: 10.1103/PhysRevE.87.030102.

Presently Wahb is working as a theoretician postdoc in the Group of Applied Physics) (GAP) at the University of Geneve (Switzerland).

The Plair project Mobile monitoring of air pollutants received a recognition prize at the Zurich Climate Competition

November 2014

Plair produces and sells Pollen Tracker, an all-optical real-time detector of atmospheric particulate matter. It uses scattered light patterns and spectrally resolved fluorescence induced by a UV laser, to detect, identify and count individual airborne particles sucked with atmospheric air. This measurement technique is used for biological particles like pollens and spores, and for some non-biological particles like coarse ash particles. The device is optimized for the particle size range (1 µm - 100 µm).

Plair is a start-up from the Wolf group.

Majed Chergui receives the 2015 Earle K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy & Dynamics

November 2014

"For developing new methods and redefining the boundaries of molecular spectroscopy through extending the temporal and spectral range, and for his pioneering work in ultrafast X-Ray spectroscopy for studies in solution and the solid state."

The Earle K. Plyler Prize ecognizes and encourages notable contributions to the field of molecular spectroscopy and dynamics. The prize consists of $10,000, an allowance for travel expenses, up to $1000, to attend the meeting at which the prize is to be presented and a certificate citing the contributions made by the recipient. The recipient is invited to contribute a perspective article to the Journal of Chemical Physics. It is presented annually.

Selection Committee: Heather Allen, Chair; T. Minton; S. Bradforth; R. Sension; L-S. Wang

Klüng-Wilhelmy Prize goes to Prof. Hans Jakob Wörner

November 2014

The Klung-Wilhelmy Prize is an annual German award in the field of science, alternating annually between the categories of chemistry and physics. This honour is bestowed upon outstanding younger German scientists under the age of 40.

The prizewinners are selected by permanent committees at the Institutes of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Department of Physics at the Freie Universität Berlin, with additional input from professors at other universities. Proposals and nominations by nationally and internationally renowned scientists are also taken into consideration. Self-nominations will not be accepted.


Majed Chergui appointed Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK)

March 2014

The Royal Society of Chemistry is the world's leading chemistry community, advancing excellence in the chemical sciences. It has 49,000 members and a worldwide knowledge business that spans the globe.

Ursula Keller promoted to SPIE Fellow

February 2014

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, announceed the promotion of Ursula Keller to SPIE Fellow. "It was by the recognition of her significant service to this society and to the greater science community, as well as the recognition of noteworthy technical achievements that the SPIE Fellows Committee and the Board of Directors concluded to promote her. Ursula was presented publicly with her new fellow plaque at the SPIE Photonics West conference this month in San Francisco."

Jiri Vaníček received the 2013 Outstanding Junior Faculty Award

for his work on "Increasing the Efficiency and Accuracy of Ultrafast Time-Resolved Electronic Spectra Calculations with On-the-Fly ab Initio Quantum Dynamics Methods".
The American Chemical Society COMP OpenEye Outstanding Junior Faculty Award program provides $1,000 to up to four outstanding tenure-track junior faculty members to present their work in COMP symposia at the Fall 2014 San Francisco, CA ACS National Meeting. The Awards are designed to assist new faculty members in gaining visibility within the COMP community.

Prof. Ursula Keller wins the LIA 2013 Arthur Schawlow Award

June 2013

The Arthur Schawlow Award of the Laser Institute of America (LIA) recognizes outstanding, career-long contributions to basic and applied research in laser science and engineering leading to fundamental understanding of laser materials interaction and/or transfer of laser technology for increased application in industry, medicine and daily life. Examples of fields of contribution include the following in addition to many relevant topics:

Laser spectroscopy and its application in materials processing and diagnostics
Laser-aided materials processing
Laser interaction with biological tissues
Development of new lasers

The Laser Institute of America (LIA) is the international society for laser applications and safety. Their mission is to foster lasers, laser applications, and laser safety worldwide.

Nernst-Haber-Bodenstein Prize goes to Prof. Hans Jakob Wörner

May 2013

The Nernst-Haber-Bodenstein Prize was established in memory of Walther Nernst, Fritz Haber, and Max Bodenstein. It is awarded annually to a young scientist who has made outstanding scientific achievements in physical chemistry. This year, the prize was awarded to Professor Hans Jacob Wörner, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, for his outstanding work on the experimental observation of the time-dependent quantum dynamics of electron motion in molecules on the sub-femtosecond time scale.

A Marie Heim Vögtlin award for Dr. Mary Matthews

December 2012

Dr . Mary Matthews received a Marie Heim Vögtlin award to work on laser filamentation for probing atmospheric processes. She works in the group of Jean-Pierre Wolf.

Molecular Physics Young Authors Prize goes to Dr. Miroslav Sulc


The Editors of Molecular Physics award prizes to talented, young writer who has made a significant contribution to a top quality paper published in the Journal during 2013, as judged by the Editors. The Prize highlights the highest quality work of the next generation. Eligible applicants for the Molecular Physics Longuet-Higgins Young Author's Prize are those who were studying for a PhD or had completed their PhD studies within the last five years at the time of publication of their paper. The paper must have been published in Molecular Physics, Volume 111, the content may be either theoretical or experimental and in any subject area falling within the remit of the Journal.

Three awards to Prof. Hans Jakob Wörner in 2012

In 2012, Hans Jakob Wörner received the

Natalie Banerji wins a 2011 Ambizione grant

August 2011

Natalie Banerji is holder of the Swiss National Science Foundation Ambizione grant (n° PZ00P2_136853). She
leads the Conjugated Polymer Optoelectronics Team in the Group for Photochemical Dynamics of Prof. Jacques Moser.

Majed Chergui (EPFL) is winner of Kuwait Prize 2009

In fulfillment of the objectives of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) in supporting scientific research and encouraging scholars and researchers in Kuwait and all other Arab countries, KFAS awards prizes in the fields of Sciences, Arts and Letters, Economic and Social Studies and the Arabic and Islamic Scientific Heritage.
Kuwait21    KFAS prizes are designed to recognize intellectual achievements that serve the interest of scientific advancement and support efforts to raise the standard of culture in various fields.

The Danse of Molecules, Kuwait Prize Lecture, University of Kuwait, Dec. 15, 2010

NCCR MUST Office : ETHZ IQE/ULP-HPT H3 | Auguste-Piccard-Hof 1 | 8093 Zurich | E-Mail
The National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR) are a research instrument of the Swiss National Science Foundation