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Research into the Science of Light Prize 2015

2015 Prize for Research into the Science of Light announced by the European Physical Society

MULHOUSE, [3rd of November, 2014] – The Quantum Electronics and Optics Division of the European Physical Society is delighted to announce the 2015 winner of the Prize for Research into the Science of Light. This Prize is awarded every two years and recognizes a recent work by one or more (up to three) individuals for scientific excellence in the area of electromagnetic science in its broadest sense, across the entire spectrum of electromagnetic waves.

The work for which the individual(s) is/are nominated must be such that a significant component of it was performed during the 5 years prior to the award. The award moreover recognises research for which a significant portion of the work was carried out in Europe or in cooperation with European researchers. It may be given for either pure or applied research. The award is accompanied by an engraved glass medal, a certificate, and a monetary sum of 2000 euros.

The award will be presented in a special ceremony at the 5th International Topical Meeting on Nanophotonics and Metamaterials Conference (Nanometa 2015), which will take place in Seefeld, Austria, between the 5th and 8th of January, 2015. This meeting will start the EPS-supported European Conferences for the United Nations (UN) proclaimed 2015 International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (

The 2015 Prize for Research into the Science of Light is awarded to Miles Padgett, Professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom. The Prize is awarded to Professor Padgett for “internationally recognised work on optical momentum, including an optical spanner, use of orbital angular momentum in communication systems and an angular form of EPR paradox”.

Miles PadgettMiles Padgett holds the Kelvin Chair of Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow and is a Royal Society/Wolfson Merit Award holder. In 2001, he was elected to fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, of the OSA in 2011, of SPIE in 2012 and in 2014 as a Fellow of the Royal Society - the UK’s National Academy. In 2008, he won the Institute of Physics Optics and Photonics Prize; in 2009, the Institute’s Young Medal, and in 2014, the Kelvin Medal of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

His group is internationally recognized for leadership in the field of optics and in particular of optical momentum. Their best-known contributions include an optical spanner for spinning micrometre-sized objects, use of orbital angular momentum to increase the data capacity of communication systems and an angular form of the Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen quantum paradox.  In addition to opening a new field of optical research, recognition of orbital angular momentum has led to new directions in optics, where the spatial control of a light beam’s optical phase has driven areas as diverse as optical manipulation, quantum optics and imaging.


For the 2015 Edition of this award, the Jury consisted of the following personalities:

Philip Russell, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Erlangen, Germany - 2013 Laureate
John Dudley, University of Franche Comté, FEMTO-ST, Besançon, France - EPS President
Alexandra Boltasseva, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
Lukas Novotny, ETH Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
Rainer Hillenbrand, CIC Nanogune, San Sebastian, Spain
Andy Clarkson, ORC, University of Southampton, Southampton, Uni
Luc Bergé, CEA, Arpajon, France - QEOD Chair and Chair of the present Jury ted Kingdom
Giulio Cerullo, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy
Patricia Helfenstein, EPS, Mulhouse, France - Prize Secretary (non voting).

Background Information on EPS-QEOD

The European Physical Society provides an international forum for physicists and acts as a federation of national physical societies. Founded in 1968, EPS plays a leading role in both scientific and policy activities within the community of European physicists. The Quantum Electronics and Optics Division (QEOD) of EPS acts as a focal point for European research in optics and photonics through its wide range of strategic activities, sponsorship and conference organisation.  In addition to the above prize, it also awards Senior Researcher (Quantum Electronics and Optics), Young Researcher (Fresnel) and PhD Student Prizes. These will be announced shortly. See


European Physical Society
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Previous Prizes :

2013 Research into the Science of Light Prize


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