The Nobel Prize physicist Gérard Mourou at FORTH | News

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The Nobel Prize physicist Gérard Mourou at FORTH

An Open Scientific Speech will be given by Professor Gérard Mourou, who was honored with the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018. The event will be held at the Amphitheater of the Foundation for Research and Technology- Hellas on 20 May 2019 at 13.00. His speech on "Passion Extreme Light" will focus on the sharp beams of laser light that is a global source and provides a huge range of high-energy radiation and particles and offers the ability to explore key questions of fundamental physics such as genesis of active cosmic rays or the loss of information in black holes.

The distinguished scientist was born in Albertville, France. He studied Physics at the University of Grenoble and then at the University of Pierre-et-Marie-Curie in Paris, where he obtained his doctorate in 1973. Later he moved to the United States and became a professor at the University of Rochester. He continued his research and educational activities at the University of Michigan and the École Polytechnique in Paris.

In 1985, Gérard Mourou and his college student Donna Strickland managed to create high-intensity ultra-short laser pulses. It was for this technique, known as "Chirped Pulse Amplification" (CPA), that they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018. The sharp beams of laser light have given us new opportunities for deepening our knowledge about the world and shaping it. An official press release of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm states: "Their inventions have revolutionized laser physics and the development of advanced precision instruments, opening up unexplored areas of research."

The CPA technique has become a model for all the latest high-intensity lasers and has paved the path for completely new applications and research fields in physics and chemistry with major applications in medicine, cultural heritage, advanced materials, biology, air pollution diagnostics and management of nuclear waste. For example, the work of the two scientists contributed to and had a huge impact on refractive surgery, allowing millions of successful cataract surgeries and the correction of refractive errors (e.g. myopia), as well as the creation of surgical stents to treat coronary artery disease. Other applications involve the use of laser to change the properties of matter as well as to cut or create precision holes in various materials, including living matter.

The speech will be delivered in English.

The event is part of the Pan-European Campaign "Europe in my Region 2019", aiming to inform citizens about the EU-funded projects.

The event is organized under the aegis of FORTH and the co-funded National Research Infrastructure HELLAS-CH ( within the framework of the Operational Program Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation (EPAnEK, ESPA 2014-2020).

The National Research Infrastructure HELLAS-CH primarily aims to contribute to the Greek scientific community and provide:

(a) access to advanced experimental facilities which substantially enhance cutting-edge research in science, technology and applications of laser and

b) integrated multi-faceted tools and reliable techniques to address the demanding research challenges of Heritage Science.


The HELLAS-CH infrastructure is coordinated by the Foundation for Research and Technology- Hellas / Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser and the following twelve institutions of the Greek academic and research community are also involved:

• National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

• National Technical University of Athens

• Technical University of Crete

• University of Ioannina

• University of Patras

•Democritus University of Thrace

• Technological and Educational Institute of Crete

• Academy of Athens

• Hellenic Pasteur Institute

• National Institution of Research

• Ormylia Foundation

The National Research Infrastructure HELLAS-CH is linked to and cooperates with the European Research Infrastructures (EEY) ELI, HiPER, Laserlab, Europe IPERION-CH. Prof. G. Mourou is the instigator and founder of EEY ELI (Extreme Light Infrastructure).