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    Naomi Halas and Ursula Keller receive the Weizmann Women and Science 2017 Award

    22 May 2017

    Naomi Halas
    Naomi Halas
    Ursula Keller
    Ursula Keller

    SPIE Fellows Naomi Halas, Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University, and Ursula Keller, Professor of Physics at ETH Zürich, each won a 2017 Weizmann Women and Science Award from the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel. They will accept their honors and deliver a series of lectures at the Institute on 7 June.

    The biennial award was established in 1994 and honors internationally renowned woman scientists who make significant contributions in their respective fields, as well as to the scientific community in general. The objective of the award, which includes a $25,000 research grant for the recipient, is to promote women in science, and to provide a strong role model to motivate and encourage the next generation of young women scientists.

    Halas was recognized “for pioneering and seminal contributions to the field of plasmonics, which have profoundly influenced modern optics – both in basic understanding and in applications.” She is one of the world's most-cited experts in nanophotonics and plasmonics, creating the concept of the “tunable plasmon.” At Rice University where she is also a professor of biomedical engineering, chemistry, physics and astronomy, she also founded the Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP) and is director of the Rice Quantum Institute. In 2015, she was named director of the University’s Smalley-Curl Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.

    As the author of over 250 publications and 23 papers published in the SPIE Digital Library, Halas’ research ranges from electromagnetic theory to chemical nanofabrication. She has served as conference chair and on many program committees for SPIE Events, as well as presenting at events dozens of times. She will deliver her plenary talk on Molecular Plasmons this August at SPIE Optics + Photonics in San Diego. She was made a Fellow of the Society in 2007.

    Keller is also very involved with the Society, having been recognized as an SPIE Fellow in 2014 for her contributions. Recently, she gave the opening plenary, speaking on ionization dynamics and time delays, at ANZCOP 2015, the Australian and New Zealand Conference on Optics and Photonics. She has presented numerous times at SPIE events, delivering plenary talks, serving as conference chair and on conference program committees. She has written over 240 publications in scientific journals with a peer review including SPIE journal, Optical Engineering.

    Keller was recognized “for pioneering and seminal contributions to ultrafast lasers technology and important breakthroughs in attosecond science.” She works mainly in the field of ultra-short pulse laser physics and invented the SESAM (Semiconductor Saturable Absorber Mirror). She joined ETH Zurich as a tenured professor in physics in 1993 and has held guest professorships at the University of Lund in 2001, and the University of California, Berkeley in 2006. Since 2010, she has been the director of the research program NCCR MUST (Molecular Ultrafast Science and Technology) started by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

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