№ 344/2014 from Oct 08, 2014
The physical chemist Hans Jakob Wörner from ETH Zurich will receive this year’s Klung Wilhelmy Science Award for his pioneering work in studying electron motion in molecules on the attosecond time scale. He is being recognized for his experimental work and the development of spectroscopic methods and fundamental theories. The award and prize money of 75,000 euros will be presented in a ceremony at Freie Universität on Thursday, November 6, 2014. The award ceremony is public, and there is no charge for admission. The laudatory speech will be given by Marc Vrakking (Max Born Institut for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy). The key note lecture will be given by Matthias Beller (Leibniz Institute for Catalysis) on "Catalysis - Key Technology for Sustainable Chemistry."
Molecules react with each other within femtoseconds (10-15 s). The involved electrons re-arrange themselves much faster – within a few attoseconds (0.000 000 000 000 000 0001 s). The time-resolved, laser-based methods developed by Hans Jakob Wörner, such as so-called high-harmonic spectroscopy, first made it possible to observe the dynamics of atomic nuclei and electrons in a molecule during a chemical reaction in real time.
Prof. Hans Jakob Wörner, born in 1981, is from Freiburg in Breisgau. He majored in chemistry at École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne, then moved to ETH Zürich, where he received his doctorate in 2007. He did research at the Laboratoire Aimé-Cotton du CNRS in Orsay, France, and at the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa. In 2010 Wörner returned to ETH Zürich as a junior research group leader. Since 2012 his work has been funded by the Starting Grant Program of the European Research Council (ERC). Since 2013 Wörner has been an associate professor and leads a research group devoted to ultrafast spectroscopy and attosecond research in the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry at ETH.
The Klung Wilhelmy Science Award is presented annually to an outstanding younger German scientist. In alternating years it goes to a chemist or a physicist respectively. The award ceremony is held in cooperation between the Otto Klung Foundation and Freie Universität Berlin. Five of the previous winners later went on to win a Nobel Prize – physicists Theodor W. Hänsch, Gerd K. Binnig, Horst L. Störme, and Johann Georg Bednorz and the chemist Hartmut Michel. Other winners were later honored with various major national and international awards.