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17 November 2022

Rainer Blatt named 2023 Herbert Walther Award recipient

WASHINGTON — Optica (formerly OSA), Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, and the Deutsche Physikalische Gesell­schaft (DPG) have named Rainer Blatt, University of Innsbruck, Austria, the recipient of the 2023 Herbert Walther Award.

Blatt is recognized "for outstanding contributions to quantum optics, quantum information science, especially quantum computing and simulation, as well as precision measurements with trapped ions; and for scientific leadership promoting quantum information and nurturing young scientists."

"Rainer Blatt is a visionary whose influence reaches beyond quantum physics. From his work teleporting atoms and developing a universal quantum simulator to applications for spectroscopy and metrology, he continues to push the limits of the field.” said 2022 Optica President Satoshi Kawata. “We also commend Rainer for his efforts to bring quantum science to the general public and young students through lectures and talks.

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

Rainer Blatt is a professor of experimental physics and head of the Quantum Optics and Spectroscopy group at the University of Innsbruck. His research focuses on quantum optics and quantum information. His team is using trapped ions as a means to address fundamental questions in quantum optics, spectroscopy, and quantum information science. 

Blatt received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Mainz, Germany and through a research grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), joined JILA, USA, to work with Nobel Laureate and Optica Honorary Member, John Hall. He has held positions at the Free University of Berlin, the University of Hamburg, and the University of Göttingen, all in Germany. Since 2003, he has been the scientific director at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW).

A member of Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG) and a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), Blatt serves on many councils, committees and advisory boards. He also supports the next generation of scientists through talks and outreach for teachers and high school students. He has received numerous awards and honors, including the Carl Zeiss Research Award, the Stern-Gerlach-Medal, the John Stewart Bell Prize for Research on Fundamental Issues in Quantum Mechanics and their Applications, the Micius Quantum Prize, and the Austrian Academy of Sciences Erwin Schrödinger, the highest Austrian research prize.

About DPG

The Deutsche Physikalische Gesell­schaft e. V. (DPG), headquartered near Bonn, is the oldest national society and largest physical society in the world. As a non-profit organization with 62,000 members, DPG promotes the transfer of knowledge within the scientific community through conferences, events and publications, and aims to open a window to physics for anyone who is curious to learn more. The physics society as well aims to encourage junior scientists and promote equal opportunities in science.

About Optica

Optica (formerly OSA), Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, is the society dedicated to promoting the generation, application, archiving and dissemination of knowledge in the field. Founded in 1916, it is the leading organization for scientists, engineers, business professionals, students and others interested in the science of light. Optica’s renowned publications, meetings, online resources and in-person activities fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate scientific, technical and educational achievement. Discover more at:

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