University of Innsbruck
Three men and one woman stand together for a group photo in the auditorium, one of the men holds a certificate.

Nobel Prize winner Anton Zeilinger (centre) with Alexander Ostermann, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics, Computer Science and Physics, Rector Tilmann Märk and Vice Rector for Research, Ulrike Tanzer (from left).

Anton Zeilinger awarded hon­orary doc­tor­ate

Today, quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger was awarded an honorary doctorate in the Aula auditorium of the University of Innsbruck. The Nobel Prize winner of 2022 was honored for his outstanding scientific achievements. Zeilinger was a professor at the Department of Experimental Physics at the University of Innsbruck from 1990 to 1999, where he carried out much of the work recently honored with the Nobel Prize.

With his groundbreaking research in Innsbruck in the 1990s, Anton Zeilinger laid one of the cornerstones for the rise of Innsbruck's quantum physics to world leadership. The University of Innsbruck honored his achievements today by awarding him an honorary doctorate of science. "With this honorary doctorate, we are honoring a truly outstanding personality in Austrian science," emphasized Rector Tilmann Märk at the ceremony in the university's auditorium. "After his appointment in 1990, Anton Zeilinger found the space and freedom in Innsbruck to pursue his innovative ideas and to implement them in groundbreaking experiments. It fills us with great joy and pride that these achievements were recently honored with the Nobel Prize in Physics and that Anton Zeilinger now remains closely associated with the University of Innsbruck as an honorary doctor." However, Zeilinger was and is not only an outstanding scientist. He also knows how to make complex matters such as quantum physics, accessible and interesting for lay people. "In this way, Anton Zeilinger has made a very significant contribution to popularizing quantum physics in our country," said Rector Märk.

From the USA to Innsbruck

After numerous stays abroad in the 1970s and 1980s, Anton Zeilinger was appointed to the University of Innsbruck in 1990. Here he worked as a university professor for experimental physics and head of the department until 1999. He and his team moved into modern laboratories in the Victor Franz Hess Building, newly built at the end of the 1980s on the Technik Campus in the west of Innsbruck. Around 1995, Anton Zeilinger and his group developed a new, high-intensity source of entangled photon pairs, which was the starting point for many new experiments on quantum entanglement. With this, he succeeded in the first teleportation with light particles in 1997. This result was the basis for many further applications in the field of quantum communication and for new quantum experiments.

Austrian-wide research focus

After moving to Vienna, Anton Zeilinger and his Innsbruck colleagues around Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller strived to establish quantum physics on a broad basis in Austria. A joint FWF special research area and the founding of the Academy Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) in Innsbruck and Vienna finally formed the foundation for today's world-renowned cutting-edge research in this field. Today, more than 20 internationally renowned research groups at the University of Innsbruck conduct research in the field of quantum physics and regularly attract attention with new research results.