Prologue to the taming of light: A 2 billion year odyssey

Talk by professor at Harvard University, Lene Hau, winner of the Olav Thon Foundation International Research Award 2019.

Photo: Justin Ide/Harvard News Office

Professor Lene Vesteraard Hau is the winner of this year’s international research award of the Olav Thon Foundation. She is the Mallinckrodt professor of Physics and of Applied Physics and is on the faculty of the Harvard Biophysics Program.

Vestergaard Hau led a team who succeeded in slowing a pulse of light to 15 miles per hour and brought light to a stop.

They took matters even further as they stopped and extinguished a light pulse in one part of space, and subsequently revived it in a different location. In the process, the light pulse is converted to a perfect matter copy that can be stored – put on the shelf – sculpted, and then turned back to light. These results represent a new paradigm for information processing.

Vestergaard Hau has recently embarked on a new research program at the interface of the fields of light-matter interactions, nanoscience, and molecular and synthetic biology.

Published Mar. 1, 2019 10:03 AM - Last modified Mar. 1, 2019 10:31 AM