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Research into the Science of Light Prize

The 4th Prize for Research into the Science of Light will be awarded on behalf of the European Physical Society through its Quantum Electronics & Optics Division (QEOD) during Nanometa 2019.

The prize is awarded every 2 years in recognition of recent work by one or more individuals (no more than three) for scientific excellence in the area of electromagnetic science in its broadest sense, across the entire spectrum of electromagnetic waves.

The 2019 Prize for Research into the Science of Light is awarded to Professor Javier García de Abajo, ICFO-Institut de Ciencies Fotoniques, Castelldefels (Barcelona), Spain for "pioneering contributions to the understanding of the behavior of light at the nanoscale, in particular in plasmons and in light interactions with free electrons".

Javier-Garcia-de-Abajo-pictureLight Prize


Javier García de Abajo received his PhD from the University of the Basque Country in 1993 and then visited Berkeley National Lab for three years. He was a Research Professor at the Spanish CSIC and in 2013 moved to ICFO-Institut de Ciencies Fotoniques (Barcelona) as an ICREA Research Professor and Group Leader. He is Fellow of both the American Physical Society and the Optical Society of America, and he has co-authored 300+ articles on different aspects of nanophotonics, atomic physics, surface science, and electron microscope spectroscopies. See for more details.

A session “Light Prize Talk and Awards Ceremony” will take place on Friday 4 January 2019, 20:15-21:00 during Nanometa 2019, Room Olympia, to remit the Prize and Professor Javier García de Abajo will give an invited talk on “Control of Light at the Atomic Scale: Fundamentals and Applications.”

Abstract: Light manipulation at atomic scales benefits from new materials (graphene, atomically thin metals), conceptual developments (molecular plasmons, interaction with free-electron), and improved instrumentation, enabling applications to bio, quantum, and nonlinear optics discussed during this talk.



Prize for Research into the Science of Light history and background

The work for which the individual(s) is/are nominated must be such that a significant component of it was performed during the period 5 years prior to the award.  In addition, the award will recognize research for which a significant portion of the work was carried out in Europe or in cooperation with European researchers, and may be given for either pure or applied research.

The award will be accompanied by an engraved glass medal, certificate, and a monetary sum of 2000 euros.

The Prize Ceremony and Lecture will be highlights of the EPS Nanometa Conference organized in Seefeld, Austria, from the 3rd to 6th of January, 2019.

Nominations included:

* A cover letter provided by the nominator with proposed citation

* A two-page summary of the significance of the work which is the subject of the nomination. For a nominated team of more than one person, the summary should clearly specify the individual contribution of each nominee, and when and where the work has been performed.

* Nominee CV(s).

* A list of publications covering the last five years (a few earlier articles particularly relevant for the nomination can also be included).  Five articles of most significance should be highlighted.

* Up to three letters of endorsement of the nomination.

Online Submission Details.

All material must be prepared in English and combined into either a single consolidated PDF file or a ZIP archive.  Please click the link below to access the submission site:

Pre-Schedule for the 2019 “Light” Prize:
1.      Nominations deadline: 22 November 2018;
2.      Award announced to winner(s) ~ 7 December 2018;
3.      Winner(s) can elect given a talk at Nanometa 2019 or defer as plenary at Nanometa 2021;
4.      Winner(s) make a 45 minutes talk at Nanometa 2019 or defer it to 2021.

For additional information on the Prize for Research into the Science of Light consult the EPS-QEOD web page.

Past recipients of the EPS-QEOD Prize for Research into the Science of Light:

2017  Polman Light Prize The 2017 Prize for Research into the Science of Light was awarded to Albert Polman, FOM Institute AMOLF, Amsterdam and University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The Prize was awarded to Professor Polman for "mastering light at the nanoscale and for demonstrating novel applications in nanoscale optical circuits, photovoltaics, and super-resolution imaging".
2015 Miles Padgett   The 2015 Prize for Research into the Science of Light was awarded to Miles Padgett, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom. The Prize was awarded to Professor Padgett for “internationally recognised work on optical momentum, including an optical spanner, use of orbital angular momentum in communication systems and an angular form of EPR paradox”.
2013 Prize Russell 

The 2013 Prize for Research into the Science of Light was awarded to Philip StJ Russell, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Erlangen, Germany. The Prize was awarded to Professor Russell for "pioneering contributions into the physics and applications of photonic crystal fiber which have led to revolutionary advances in frequency metrology, and for the recent development of a flexible platform for gas-phase nonlinear optics that is enabling a new generation of experiments in ultrafast pulse dynamics, ionization physics and self-similarity".

The prize jury consists of eight eminent researchers selected from amongst the QEOD board and current or past members of the Programme Committee of the Nanometa Conference. The President of the EPS also serve on the prize jury. Patricia Helfenstein, EPS, will act as the Secretary (non-voting)

2019 Prize Jury:

  1. Giulio Cerullo, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy - QEOD Board Chair
  2. Stephan Goetzinger, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Erlangen, Germany (QEOD)
  3. Rachel Grange, ETH Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland - Chair of the Jury (QEOD)
  4. Olga Kosareva, Lomonosov University, Moscow, Russia
  5. Enda McGlynn, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland
  6. Albert Polman, FOM Institute AMOLF, Amsterdam and University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands - 2017 laureate
  7. Günter Steinmeyer, Max-Born-Institut, Berlin, Germany (QEOD)
  8. Rüdiger Voss, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland, EPS President

2015 Prize Jury:

  1. Luc Bergé, CEA, Arpajon, France - QEOD Chair and Chair of the Jury
  2. Alexandra Boltasseva, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
  3. Giulio Cerullo, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy
  4. Andy Clarkson, ORC, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
  5. John Dudley, University of Franche Comté, FEMTO-ST, Besançon, France - EPS President
  6. Rainer Hillenbrand, CIC Nanogune, San Sebastian, Spain
  7. Lukas Novotny, ETH Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
  8. Philip Russell, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Erlangen, Germany - 2013 Laureate

2013 Prize Jury:

  1. Harry Atwater, CALTECH, USA
  2. Allan Boardman, Salford University, UK
  3. Mark Brongersma, Stanford University, USA
  4. John Dudley, EPS President
  5. Nader Engheta, University of Pennsylvania, USA – Chair
  6. Monika Ritsch-Marte, Innsbruck Medical University, Austria
  7. Moti Segev, Technion, Israel
  8. Victor Zadkov, Moscow State University, Russia

Background Information on EPS-QEOD
The European Physical Society provides an international forum for physicists and acts as a federation of national physical societies. Founded in 1968, EPS plays a leading role in both scientific and policy activities within the community of European physicists. The Quantum Electronics and Optics Division (QEOD) of EPS acts as a focal point for European research in optics and photonics through its wide range of strategic activities, sponsorship and conference organisation. In addition to the above prize, it also awards Senior Researcher (Quantum Electronics and Optics), Young Researcher (Fresnel) and PhD Student Prizes. These will be announced shortly. See

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Key deadlines

20 August 2018:
On line submission opens

19 October 2018:
Submission deadline

24 September 2018:
On line Registration opens

19 November 2018:
Authors notification

03 December 2018:
Pre-registration deadline

17 December 2018:
On line registration system closes


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