Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Theodor W. Hansch
Max-Planck-Institute for Quantum Optics


"For his many outstanding contributions to laser spectroscopy including his extraordinary measurement of the spectrum of atomic hydrogen."


Theodor W. Hänsch is the Executive Director of the Max-Planck-Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany, and a Professor of Physics at the University of Munich. He is also lecturing at the University of Florence, and he is a Consulting Professor at the Physics Department of Stanford University.

He received his Masters Degree (Dipl. Phys., 1966) and Doctorate (Dr. Rer. Nat., 1969) from the University of Heidelberg. In 1970 he came to the US where he joined the Physics Department of Stanford University as an Associate Professor in 1972. From 1975 until he returned to his native Germany in 1986, he served as a full Professor at Stanford.

His research interests include test of basic physics laws with techniques of precise laser spectroscopy and the cooling and manipulation of atomic matter with laser light.

He is a Fellow in the American Physical Society and the Optical Society of America, as well as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. Awards include the Herbert P. Brodia Prize of the American Physical Society (1983), the Cyrus B. Comstock Prize of the National Academy of Science (1983), the William F. Meggers Award of the Optical Society of America (1985), the Michelson Medal of the Franklin Institute (1986), the Italgas Prize for Research and Innovation (1987), the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Science Foundation (1988), and the King Faisal International Prize for Science (1989).