Skip To Content
Herbert Walther Award

Presented for distinguished contributions in quantum optics and atomic physics as well as leadership in the international scientific community.

This award is co-sponsored by Optica and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG). Please note: In odd-numbered years, nominations should be submitted to DPG

View Past Winners.

Nominations for the 2025 award should be submitted to Optica through BEAM.


Nominations: 30 June

References: 30 June

Nominator Requirements

There are no membership or country of residence restrictions for nominators.

Nominee Requirements

1. There is no membership or country of residence restrictions for nominees.

2. Joint nominees are permitted for the same project or for joint work completed over a long period of time.

3. An individual may not receive more than one society award in a year, nor may an individual receive more than one award for the same body of work.

4. Awards are not presented posthumously, except in the case that the recipient's death occurs after the Selection Committee decision has been made.

Important Note:  The nominee does not participate in the process. To maintain confidentiality, the necessary facts should be obtained from the nominee only if the complete and correct background information is not available elsewhere. Self-nomination is not permitted. We serve a diverse and inclusive community worldwide. Nominees that reflect and support this diversity across all areas including gender, race, educational/institutional background and geography are especially encouraged.

Nomination Requirements

In even-numbered years, nomination materials are submitted online through BEAM. Nominations in odd-numbered years should be submitted to Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG). All documents must be uploaded as PDF files. The following is needed for a nomination:

1. Name and email address for the nominee.*

2. Award citation (no more than 35 words), which typically starts with “for” and should be concise, but broad enough to encompass the nominee’s contributions.*

3. An original, one (1) page narrative/support statement describing the nominee's outstanding contributions to quantum optics and atomic physics, as well as leadership in the international scientific community.

4. Nominee's resume or CV, listing educational background, positions held, and highlighting key positions, patents, awards, honors, activities, volunteer service, publications and reports or product releases.

5. Four (4) letters of reference (i.e., 4 is both the minimum and the maximum). Diversity of support is preferred; not all letters of recommendation should come from the nominee's institution. The nominator may not serve as a reference. The name and email address is required for each reference. Important while staff will send reminders to references, it is the nominator's responsibility to ensure that all required references have been submitted by the deadline.

6. Optional support documents could include: additional patents, publications, reports, product releases, etc. Please remember that all materials should support the contributions and accomplishments outlined in the citation and narrative statement.

* This information is entered directly into BEAM.

If you have any difficulty using BEAM, please contact us at

Nomination Do's and Don'ts


  1. Include the nominee in the submission process!
  2. Forget to check for spelling errors, typos and grammatical errors.
  3. Just cut & paste from the CV/resume. Write a narrative that describes the candidate and their unique and outstanding contributions.
  4. Assume that the reviewer knows your candidate well.
  5. Use generalizations.
  6. Just say your nominee is outstanding – prove it!
  1. Communicate with your references! Confirm that they are willing to be a reference and will be enthusiastic about your nominee before you add them to the system.
  2. Make the narrative clear and easy to read. Consider using bullet points and section headers.

  3. Give specific examples that explain the impact of the nominee’s work.

  4. Proofread your material for typos and mistakes.

  5. Include qualitative and quantitative facts, statistics, metrics, etc.

  6. Avoid providing an extended resume, job description or list of appointments/posts.

Selection Process

Each Society appoints a Selection Committee which reviews and discusses all eligible nominees. In even-numbered years Optica receives the award nominations, and the Optica Selection Committee identifies a short list of top candidates. The DPG Selection Committee reviews the short list of candidates and recommends a winner. The roles are reversed in odd-numbered years. Recommendations are reviewed by each Society’s governing bodies, which for Optica includes the Awards Council and Board of Directors.

Please note that a minimum of four eligible nominations are required before the Selection Committee(s) may select a recipient. If the minimum is not met, all nominations will be held for consideration the following year.

All nominations are automatically considered for up to three review cycles. After consideration by three Selection Committees, the nomination is retired but may be renominated.

Using BEAM

Reminder - In odd-numbered years, nominations should be submitted to Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG).

1. Log in to BEAM, our Awards and Honors system, with your Optica credentials.

2. Be sure you are on the "Nominators" tab.

3. Click the "Submit a New Nomination" button and select the appropriate award/medal from the drop-down menu.

4. Enter the name and email address of the nominee. You will have the option to add multiple nominees later in the process if needed.

5. Input the required supporting information and references. Note - references will automatically receive an email with a link to the reference form as soon as you select them as a reference, even if you have not completed/submitted the nomination.

6. Select "Additional Nominees" from the menu if needed.

7. Review and submit the nomination prior to the deadline.

8. After submitting the nomination you will receive a confirmation email.

Image for keeping the session alive