COPERNICUS AWARD LAUREATES 2014
Professor Marek Żukowski is a graduate of the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry of the University of Gdańsk. He completed his doctorate in 1983, and his habilitation in 1995 at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, before being made a professor in 2003. Since 1976 he was worked at the University of Gdańsk. Between 1996 and 2005 he was the head of the Department of Quantum Optics of the Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics there, and since 2005 he has been the director of the institute. A visiting professor at many foreign research institutions, including the University of Innsbruck (numerous times between 1991 and 1999), the University of Vienna (numerous times between 1999 and 2011), Tsinghua University in Beijing (2005), and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2010-13), in 2006 he was also the recipient of a Wenner-Gren Foundation (Stockholm) scholarship. Member of the founding group of the National Quantum Information Centre in Gdańsk, the scientific council of the National Laboratory of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics at Nicolaus Copernicus University and the Council of the National Science Centre. Since 2002 member of the editorial board of International Journal of Quantum Information (Singapore), and since 2014 of Physical Review A (USA). The author of around 140 papers published in leading scientific journals, including several in Nature and 27 in Physical Review Letters. A four-time recipient of an individual Minister of National Education Award, and three-time recipient of the University of Gdańsk Rector’s Award. Beneficiary of a Batory Foundation scholarship (1988) and FNP professorial subsidy (2003). Professor Żukowski’s research work examines the foundations of quantum mechanics and uses its theoretical methods for designing experiments employing entangled photons in order to test the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics and their application in transmission and processing of information. In 2013 he was honoured with a Foundation for Polish Science Prize “for research on multi-photon entangled states, which led to formulation of information causality as a principle of physics”, as well as a Marie Curie Award from the Third Faculty of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
Professor Harald Weinfurter graduated in physics from the Vienna University of Technology (1983), completing his doctorate at the same institution (1987). Between 1991 and 1999 he worked at the University of Innsbruck (in Anton Zeilinger’s group), completing his habilitation in 1996. It was also here that he began to work with Marek Żukowski. Since 1999 he has been a professor at the Faculty of Physics of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, as well as working at Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (MPQ). The recipient of numerous scientific award and prizes: the APART Fellowship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (1996), the Kohlrausch Award of the Austrian Physical Society, the Austrian Government START Award (1998), the University of Innsbruck Dr Otto Seibert Science Award (1998), the Philip Morris Award (2003), and the European Union Descartes Prize (2004). Since 2010, Prof. Weinfurter is a beneficiary of the prestigious Max Planck Fellows programme. His research interests mainly encompass experiments concerning the foundations of quantum mechanics, in particular quantum multi-photon interferometry, quantum entanglement, Bell inequality, quantum communication and information processing, quantum cryptography and metrology. He is the author of over 150 scientific papers, many of which have been published in major scientific journals (Nature, Science, Physical Review Letters and Nature Physics/Photonics. Between 2004 and 2008 he was a member of the publishing board of Journal of Modern Optics A, and since 2003 he has been a member of the editorial committee of Springer publishers’ Quantum Optics series.
Information on the joint research
The many years of scientific collaboration between the 2014 COPERNICUS Award beneficiaries have brought results in the form of research ventures and publications that have influenced the development of quantum optics and quantum information theory. The effect of the synergy achieved by the combination of approaches – the theoretical one represented by Prof. Żukowski and the experimental one of Prof. Weinfurter – meant that world-class research results could be obtained, documented in 27 joint publications in major scientific journals (including seven in Physical Review Letters). The professors’ success in combining a theoretical and experimental approach concerns a great number of issues in research on the foundations of quantum physics. The Polish-German research duo has a special input to the development of two- and multi-photon interferometry, one of the most important fields of quantum optics (crowned with a digest of these issues in Review of Modern Physics (2012): authors Pan, Chen, Lu, Weinfurter, Zeilinger and Żukowski). The beneficiaries have been working together for years within joint research programmes funded by the European Union as well as Polish-German programmes. Both are leaders of research groups each with over a dozen young researchers, and these groups actively collaborate, including in a TEAM FNP project (2012-15).