Gérard Mourou, the initiator of our institute, becomes professor in Szeged

Gérard Mourou, co-winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics, joined the University of Szeged as a research professor at the National Laser-Initiated Transmutation Laboratory (NLTL) on 1 May. The French physicist, who played a key role in the establishment of our research institute, is a frequent guest of ours.

Gérard Mourou, the initiator of our institute, becomes professor in Szeged

Gérard Mourou and Karoly Osvay


In 1985, Gérard Mourou and his PhD student Donna Strickland developed Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA), a technique that stretches and amplifies low-intensity light pulses, then compresses them back into incredibly short, ultrafast pulses having greater energy than all the power stations in the world combined for a billionth of a billionth of a second. (More on this here: Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland shared half of the 2018 Nobel Prize for their groundbreaking invention. (The other half of the award went to Arthur Ashkin, a researcher at Bell Laboratories in the US, for inventing the ‘optical tweezers’.)


 Professor Gérard Mourou

Gérard Mourou first proposed the establishment of ELI (Extreme Light Infrastructure) in 2005, and then called on the European laser research community to rally behind the initiative. Subsequently, in collaboration with key researchers in the field, he drafted the technical specifications and the scientific base document, the ELI Whitebook, which was published in 2010. The proposal won the support of the European Commission and several European countries, and resulted in the launch of the EUR 850 million worth ELI project, which included the construction of three research centres: ELI ALPS in Hungary, ELI Beamlines in the Czech Republic and ELI NP in Romania. The name for the project was also suggested by the Professor.


 Csaba Lantos energy minister, Gabor Szabó managing director and Gérard Mourou 

In 2019, the University of Szeged, École Polytechnique in Paris and Tri Alpha Energy, a California-based company, signed a professional cooperation agreement. The collaboration, which can also be linked to Professor Mourou, aims to develop a laser technology to facilitate the decomposition of waste from nuclear power plants. ELI ALPS is also involved in this work, as most of the experiments of the National Laser-Initiated Transmutation Laboratory, which was set up to implement the programme, have been and will be carried out at our institute.

We wish Professor Gérard Mourou all the best!


Photos: Gábor Balázs