Vitaly Wirthl receives this year‘s Theodor Hänsch Dissertation Prize

The physicist from the Department of Laser Spectroscopy at MPQ has measured electronic transitions in deuterium with unprecedented precision.

July 02, 2024

Dr Vitaly Wirthl has been awarded this year's Theodor W. Hänsch Doctoral Prize. The prize, named after the Nobel Prize winner and pioneer of laser spectroscopy, honours particularly outstanding and ground-breaking dissertations in the field of physics. In his work, Vitaly Wirthl succeeded in measuring a specific energy transition in deuterium, the heavy hydrogen, more precisely than ever before. Ultra-precise measurements such as these enable a direct comparison and test of quantum electrodynamics and provide important clues, for example in the search for new physics or the exact determination of natural constants. The final evaluation of Vitaly Wirthl's new data is currently being eagerly awaited by precision physicists.

"I am very grateful for my time as a doctoral student - for all the great colleagues, the very inspiring research atmosphere and the excellent framework conditions! I am very pleased to be able to continue my research and am excited to see how our fundamental understanding of nature will develop with precision experiments," comments Vitaly Wirthl.

The TWH doctoral prize is sponsored by the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation, a private organisation for the promotion of science and teaching with a focus on physics. It is donated to the Faculty of Physics at LMU Munich and endowed with 4,000 euros. The prize was awarded for the third time this year. The award ceremony took place on 13 June as part of the LMU graduation ceremony. The laudatory speech was held by Dean of Studies Prof Jochen Weller. He recognised the prizewinner's contributions to research into the fundamentals of quantum theory, which in turn forms the basis of almost all physical processes.

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