Top European award for laser expert

Wednesday 3 July 2002

A St Andrews scientist has been awarded one of the most prestigious prizes in Europe for his outstanding contributions to the field of laser science and technology.

Professor Wilson Sibbett, Wardlaw Professor of Physics at the University of St Andrew’s School of Physics and Astronomy, has been awarded the Quantum Electronics Prize by the European Physical Society (EPS). The award recognises Professor Sibbett’s ‘excellence and enduring impact’ to his field.

“I am delighted and honoured to receive such a prestigious prize which recognises the continuing impact of the contributions to ultrafast laser science that have been made by my research group over a number of years,” said Professor Sibbett.

The EPS Quantum Electronics Prize is awarded for outstanding contributions, which have generated a major impact in the fields of quantum electronics, lasers and photonics.

Professor Sibbett has been awarded the prize for his major contributions to the development and application of ultrashort light pulse techniques. In particular, his discovery and subsequent development of self- mode-locked lasers has led to the birth of a major area of exploitable applied science and technology that extends from laser- based micromachining (eg of corneal surfaces of eyes) to fluorescence microscopy in biology and ultrahigh-speed datacommunications.

The EPS present two Quantum Electronics awards annually to scientists who are deemed to have made significant contributions in fundamental and applied aspects of the fields. The awards recognise excellence and enduring impact made by that person’s research. Professor Sibbett was awarded the Prize for applied aspects, while Professor Serge Haroche of the College de France in Paris was awarded the Prize for fundamental aspects. Both Awards were presented last month at the 2002 International Quantum Electronics Conference in Moscow.

Professor Sibbett is Director of Research for the School of Physics and Astronomy and head of ultrashort pulse research. Last December, he was the first person to be appointed to the role of Chief Scientific Adviser to the Scottish Parliament – a role which involves him chairing the Scottish Science Advisory Committee and advising Scottish Executive ministers on issues of particular scientific relevance Professor Sibbett is also a Fellow of the Royal Society and received a CBE in 2001 for his services to science.

Professor Sibbett is widely recognised as a world authority in laser physics and optoelectronics, and is co-author on over 280 research papers. His work at St Andrews has wide-ranging applications in the field on ultrafast science and technology, including optical communications and photobiology.


Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews Contact Gayle Cook on 01334 467227, mobile 07900 050103, or email [email protected] Ref: Wilson Quantum Electronics Prize 010702 View the latest University news at

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