Nobel Prize Winner École Polytechnique Palaiseau, France
Lecture Title: Passion Extreme Light
Gérard Mourou is Professor Haut-Collège at the École polytechnique. He is also the A.D. Moore Distinguished University Emeritus Professor of the University of Michigan. He received his undergraduate education at the University of Grenoble (1967) and his Ph.D. from University Paris VI in 1973.
He has made numerous contributions to the field of ultrafast lasers, high-speed electronics, and medicine. But, his most important invention, demonstrated with his student Donna Strickland while at the University of Rochester (N.Y.), is the laser amplification technique known as Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA), universally used today. CPA revolutionized the field of optics, opening new branches like attosecond pulse generation, Nonlinear QED, compact particle accelerators.
It extended the field of optics to nuclear and particle physics. In 2005, Prof. Mourou proposed a new infrastructure ; the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI), which is distributed over three pillars located in Czech Republic, Romania, and Hungary. Prof. Mourou also pioneered the field of femtosecond ophthalmology that relies on a CPA femtosecond laser for precise myopia corrections and corneal transplants. Over a million such procedures are now performed annually.
Prof. Mourou is member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and a foreign member of the Russian Science Academy, the Austrian Sciences Academy, and the Lombardy Academy for Sciences and Letters. He is Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur and was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics with his former student Donna Strickland.