Gutenberg Research Award 2013 for quantum physicist Maciej Lewenstein

Gutenberg Research College honors quantum physicist with many-faceted research interests active throughout Europe


The Gutenberg Research College (GRC) of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) bestowed this year's Gutenberg Research Award upon the internationally acclaimed quantum physicist Professor Dr. Maciej Lewenstein. Lewenstein heads the Quantum Optics Theory group at the Institute for Photonic Sciences (ICFO) in Barcelona, Spain. He has produced ground-breaking work in various research fields of theoretical physics, where he was able to creatively combine vastly different areas with one another. "We are pleased to welcome a European scientist of international stature here in Mainz," said Professor Dr. Matthias Neubert, Director of the GRC and head of the Theoretical High-Energy Physics group at JGU.

Maciej Lewenstein, born in 1955, studied at the University of Warsaw and earned his doctorate at the University of Essen. He was a member of the Centre for Theoretical Physics at the Polish Academy of Sciences. From 1995, he worked for the Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique (CEA) in Saclay, France, subsequently moving to the University of Hanover in 1998. As ICREA Professor, he has been in charge of the Quantum Optics Theory group at the Institute of Photonic Sciences since 2005.

Professor Lewenstein's research interests range from traditional quantum optics, through physics of cold gases and quantum information to physics of ultra-intense laser fields. His extraordinary ability to combine diverse fields has made him produce very original and highly influential results. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and a member of the European Academy of Sciences. In 2007, he received a Humboldt Research Award; in 2008, he was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant, the most generous grant the EU awards to individual researchers.

In the scientific community, he is best-known for his contributions in high-order harmonics generation when matter is exposed to extreme laser field strengths. His articles on Bose-Einstein condensates or degenerate ultracold fermionic atoms are read and cited widely. His proposals in quantum computing are nowadays realized experimentally. In total, his works have been cited more than 19.000 times – an enormous number which is rapidly increasing.

Although his research already encompasses a wide range of issues in quantum physics and the neighboring sciences, he still paves direction to new research fields where he contributes with his expertise and creativity. For instance, he has developed novel ideas for quantum simulation and its application both in the description of entanglement and many-body systems, relevant for condensed matter physics and also for hard problems in high energy physics.

It is the aim of the Gutenberg Research College and JGU to encourage collaboration in the field of quantum simulation, a highly topical research area, while it is also hoped that it will provide impetus to work in solid state physics, which has traditionally been one of Mainz's core strengths. In addition, Professor Maciej Lewenstein is opening up new options for using quantum simulation in order to investigate problems in high-energy physics. This will help forge a link with another key player in physics at Mainz, the Cluster of Excellence PRISMA, which is studying fundamental interactions.