The Herbert Walther Prize is awarded jointly by OPTICA (formerly OSA) and the German Physical Society (DPG) for outstanding contributions in quantum optics or atomic physics and for exceptional service to the international scientific community. This year, the award went to experimental physicist Rainer Blatt “for outstanding contributions to quantum optics, quantum information science, especially quantum computing and simulation, as well as precision measurements with trapped ions; and for scientific leadership promoting quantum information and nurturing young scientists.”
Rainer Blatt did pioneering work in quantum optics, quantum simulation and in particular laid the foundations for quantum information processing with stored ions, such as the implementation of a universal quantum gate, deterministic teleportation of quantum information and quantum error correction with up to two logical quantum bits. Furthermore, Rainer Blatt is committed to young scientists and started a number of quantum initiatives, according to the German Physical Society. “Rainer Blatt is a visionary whose influence reaches beyond quantum physics. From his work teleporting atoms and developing a universal quantum simulator to applications for spectroscopy and metrology, he continues to push the limits of the field,” said OPTICA president Satoshi Kawata. “We also commend Rainer for his efforts to bring quantum science to the general public and young students through lectures and talks.
The award commemorates Max Planck Institute of Quantum Physics’ professor Herbert Walther’s groundbreaking innovations in quantum optics and atomic physics and other wide-ranging contributions to the scientific community. The Herbert Walther Award recognizes distinguished contributions in quantum optics and atomic physics as well as leadership in the international scientific community.