12 January 2023
Photo: Boston College/privat
Two theory experts will receive the Mildred Dresselhaus Prize 2022: Prof. Olga Smirnova (right) and Benedetta Flebus. Mildred Dresselhaus was a role model for both of them.
Prof. Olga Smirnova from the Max Born Institute, Berlin, and Dr. Benedetta Flebus, Assistant Professor at Boston College, USA, are awarded the Mildred Dresselhaus Guest Professorship Program 2022 of the Hamburg Centre for Ultrafast Imaging (CUI). The Program includes an extended research stay at the Cluster of Excellence "CUI: Advanced Imaging of Matter" as well as prize money of 20,000 euros for the Senior Prize and 10,000 euros for the Junior Prize.
The Senior Prize goes to Prof. Olga Smirnova, head of the Strong-field Theory Group at the Max Born Institute, Berlin, and physics professor at the Technical University of Berlin. Smirnova is a world-leading theory expert in strong-field laser physics, high-harmonic spectroscopy, and attosecond physics. She has received the Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science & Technology from the American Chemical Society, the Karl Scheel Prize from the Physikalische Gesellschaft zu Berlin, the SAW Award from the Leibniz Society, and a Lise-Meitner Fellowship from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).
Highly efficient ways to detect molecular chirality
Olga Smirnova’s current research focuses on imaging and control of ultrafast electron dynamics in atoms, molecules and solids. Her research on novel highly efficient ways to detect molecular chirality by taking advantage of their ultrafast electronic response has been recently awarded the ERC Advanced grant.
"Prof. Olga Smirnova achievements are outstanding, both from a fundamental viewpoint and method development, and their application to interpreting experimental results. I warmly congratulate Olga Smirnova, and I am looking forward to start new collaborations with Olga," says Dr. Nina Rohringer, professor at Universität Hamburg and leading scientist at DESY. Smirnova's research has strong overlaps with several groups in the cluster.
“I am very honored to receive this award,” says Olga Smirnova. “Prof. Mildred Dresselhaus life and career are truly remarkable. As an immigrant myself, I can truly appreciate the challenges she had to overcome. Her dedication and perseverance are guiding stars for women, no matter which barriers and obstacles they have to navigate. I am very much looking forward to my stay in Hamburg, where I will continue already existing collaborations with outstanding and inspiring PI’s and where I hope to develop new ideas and new collaborations.”
Connecting quantum magnetism with quantum optics
Junior awardee Dr. Benedetta Flebus, Assistant Professor at Boston College, USA, has made significant contributions to the young field of magnetic dissipative topological phases as a theoretical condensed matter physicist. She was selected as one member of the
Rising Stars in Physics Stanford's workshop, honored with a Rubicon Fellowship from the Netherlands, a postdoctoral fellowship from UT Austin Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, and a Career Award from the U.S. National Science Foundation.
"Her recent ideas about connecting quantum magnetism with quantum optics make her a perfect candidate for intensifying the collaborations between Area A and Area B of the CUI Cluster of Excellence," says Dr. Thore Posske, Young Investigator Research Group Leader at the cluster. "I am very much looking forward to the collaboration. Benedetta Flebus has an admirably goal-oriented working style and - in keeping with the spirit of Mildred Dresselhaus - is very committed to her doctoral students. Learning from Benedetta in her direct but thoughtful style will be a worthy experience for students and young scientists in Hamburg. "
"I am deeply honored to accept this award. I have always looked up to Professor Mildred Dresselhaus as a truly inspirational role model, both scientifically and personally. I am really excited about the opportunity to spend an extended research stay at Hamburg to start new collaborations with colleagues there, and I am also looking forward to give guest lectures on topological dissipative systems in the course taught by Thore Posske," says Benedetta Flebus.