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20 November 2008

OSA, DPG Name David J. Wineland Winner of First Herbert Walther Award

Lyndsay Meyer
The Optical Society

OSA, DPG Name David J. Wineland Winner of First Herbert Walther Award

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20—The Optical Society (OSA) and the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG) are proud to announce the inaugural Herbert Walther Award will be presented to David J. Wineland of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for his seminal contributions to quantum information physics and metrology, and the development of trapped ion techniques for applications to basic quantum phenomena, plasma physics and optical clocks.

“David Wineland has been making contributions to the field of quantum optics and atomic physics for more than 30 years,” said Elizabeth Rogan, OSA executive director.  “OSA is delighted to present the first annual Walther Award to David, whose work helped lay the foundation for several advances in the field, even resulting in two groups winning Nobel Prizes in Physics related to laser cooling and trapping.”

Wineland began his work at NIST in 1975, where, in 1978, he achieved the first demonstration of laser cooling.  He has since worked to advance the use of lasers to cool trapped ions and to apply the technique to the fields of quantum and atomic physics.  In the latter arena, his work led to the development of the laser-cooled atomic clock, which currently sets the most accurate time and frequency standards in the world.  Wineland also had a hand in launching the field of quantum computing.  Wineland received his Ph.D. in physics from Harvard in 1970 and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2007 National Medal of Science.

Established in 2007, the Walther Award was named for Professor Herbert Walther, recognizing the seminal influence of his path-breaking innovations in quantum optics and atomic physics, and his wide-ranging contributions to the international scientific community.  Walther made valued contributions to programs at OSA, for example in the development of CLEO-Europe, and participated enthusiastically in the International Council on Quantum Electronics.  He also served several years on the Board of the DPG, and was elected an Honorary Member of the DPG. The Walther Award is given for distinguished contributions in quantum optics and atomic physics, as well as leadership in the international scientific community.

The OSA Foundation has endowed this award with the support of corporate contributors, including Toptica Photonics AG and Messe Muenchen–LASER.World of Photonics, and individual contributors Tony and Jeannie Siegman, Joseph and Shirley Eberly, Gerd Leuchs, Marlan Scully, Peter Knight, Wolfgang Ketterle and Y. Ron Shen.  The award consists of a certificate and 5,000 Euros.

OSA and DPG plan to present the inaugural Walther Award during LASER. World of Photonics in June 2009, in Munich, Germany.

About OSA
Uniting more than 70,000 professionals from 134 countries, the Optical Society (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visit

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