Prof. Theodor Hänsch talks "Passion for Precision" at 2013 Hubert M James Memorial Lecture

11-01-2013

Prof. Hansch

Dr. Theodor W. Hänsch, professor at Max-Planck Institute of Quantum Optics at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, speaks to a packed PHYS 112 on Oct. 31.


Since 1990, The Hubert M. James Lecture series has lured 11 Nobel laureates to Purdue University.

The parade of Nobel-winning brilliant minds coming through the Physics Building continued Oct. 31 in PHYS 112 when Dr. Theodor W. Hänsch, professor at Max-Planck Institute of Quantum Optics at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, presented his lecture “Passion for Precision” in front of more than 100 Physics faculty and students.

Hänsch was part of a team that earned the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2005 for their work in “contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the optical frequency comb technique," which looks for tiny, equally spaced elements within the spectrum of light. This way of measurement is extraordinarily precise.

Backed by impressive PowerPoint slides full of data, graphs, formulas and model animation, Hänsch gave several examples throughout physics history where ultra precise measurement revealed historic results – from Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity to the recently discovered Higgs boson.

Hänsch then moved to his own work, which has been used to help the atomic clock’s precision. The Heidelberg, Germany, native’s work could create a new atomic clock based on the measurement of hydrogen’s frequency, a more “universal” element, which would allow beings from across the universe to more accurately set their watches.

“We could redefine the second,” Hänsch said.

Hubert M. James Lecture series Nobel laureates include Norman F. Ramsey and Frederick Reines (1990), C. N. Yang and Nicholas Bloembergen (1992), Leon Lederman (1993), Walter Kohn (1995), David M. Lee (1997), Ivar Giaever (1998), Alexei Abrikosov (2006), Frank Wilczek (2012) and Theodor Hänsch (2013).

Prof. Hansch

The lineage of Nobel-winning laser physicists. Prof. Hansch is in the third row, fourth from the right.

Purdue University College of Science, 150 N. University St, West Lafayette, IN 47907 • Phone: (765) 494-1729, Fax: (765) 494-1736

Student Advising Office: (765) 494-1771, Fax: (765) 496-3015 • Science IT, (765) 494-4488

© 2018 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact the College of Science Webmaster.