The third Einstein Lecture Dahlem was given by the Nobel Prize Laureate for Physics, Theodor W. Hänsch, on April 28, 2006. The “passion for precision” was core to his lecture. Only recently before the lecture, the renowned scientist was awarded an honorary doctorate of the department of physics of Freie Universität Berlin. The department recognized Hänsch’s groundbreaking scientific contribution to nonlinear optics and ultra-precise frequency measurement.
Theodor W. Hänsch was born in 1941 in Heidelberg and studied at Heidelberg University (Ruperto Carola). After his doctorate in 1969, he moved to Stanford University in 1970 where he conducted research on laser physics. In 1972, Hänsch became Associate Professor at Stanford University and in 1975 Full Professor. Already at that time, he received great attention with his work on Doppler-free laser spectroscopy, on dye laser, and on laser cooling of atoms. In 1986, Hänsch returned to Germany and became Professor at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU Munich) as well as Director and Scientific Member at Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching. Hänsch received numerous high-ranking awards such as the Otto-Klung-Preis of Freie Universität Berlin in 1979, the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation (DFG) in 1988, the King Faisal International Prize in 1989, and the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2005.