MAX PLANCK MEDAL
Max Planck Medal 2009 from the German Physical Society (DPG)
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Robert Graham
University of Duisburg-Essen - Fakulty für Physics
The highest award from the German Physical Society, the Max Planck Medal for theoretical physics, was presented to Professor Robert Graham of the University of Duisburg-Essen. Awarded for outstanding achievement in the field of theoretical physics, it is one of the highest awards in Physics in the world.
For the past four decades, Professor Graham has studied, with great success, questions of quantum mechanics in quantum optics. He numbers among the theoretical physicists that enjoy the highest renown in the world. The Max Planck Medal is awarded for “those contributions that build on the work of Max Planck”. Thus, Graham continues the work of famous researchers like Planck, Einstein, Heisenberg, Schrödinger, and even Fermi und Dirac, who were also awarded the medal.
Professor Graham has studied, among other things, “Bose-Einstein condensation”. This involves atoms whose movement shows quantum mechanical wave properties and can be influenced by laser light. At the lowest temperatures achievable in laboratories, certain atoms display properties of the Bose-Einstein condensate. In this state, first attained in 1990, the atoms move in almost perfect unison in the same quantum mechanical wave. The atoms are perfect objects of experimentation for investigating technologically relevant quantum phenomena such as “supra-conductivity”, the flow of electricity without resistance.