Pablo Artal was born in Zaragoza, Spain. After primary school, he became an intern at the “Universidad Laboral” in Huesca to pursue his baccalaureate education. This made him the first in his family to attend university. He then studied physics at the University of Zaragoza. He did pre-doctoral fellow research at CSIC Instituto de Optica and post-doctoral research at Cambridge University, later at the Institut d’Optique in Orsay, France.
After completing his studies, he returned to Spain and became a permanent researcher at the Instituto de Optica in Madrid. In 1994, he became the first full professor of Optics at the University of Murcia. There, he founded the Laboratorio de Optica. Artal was secretary of the Spanish Optical Society (SEDO) from 1990 to 1994, associated Dean of the University of Murcia Science Faculty from 1994 to 2000, and Director of the Physics Department at Murcia University from 2001 to 2003. From 2004 to 2007, he was in charge of the reviewing grants panel in Physics at the Spanish Ministry of Science in Madrid.
Since 2006, he has been the founding director of the Center for Research in Optics and Nanophysics at Murcia University. He was president of the Academy of Science of the Murcia Region from 2010 to 2015. During his career, he often spent periods doing collaborative research in laboratories in Europe, Australia, Latin America, and USA. This included two sabbatical years in Rochester (USA) and Sydney (Australia).
He has published over 180 reviewed papers, presented over 200 invited talks, and given 150 seminars worldwide. He is a Fellow of OSA, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and the European Optical Society. Artal has been awarded the King Jamie I Award, one of the most prestigious research awards in Spain. He has received both the 2013 Edwin H. Land Medal and the 2019 Edgar D. Tillyer Award from OSA.