The Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW) boasts a long history of Nobel Prizes. Among its members are celebrated names such as Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, Max Planck, Niels Bohr, and Erwin Schrödinger. In the recent past, too, OeAW members have been honored with the world’s most prestigious science prize. Last year it was OeAW quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger; this year Anne L’Huillier and Ferenc Krausz were among the laureates.
Anton Zeilinger, an OeAW quantum physicist and former President of the Academy, received the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on quantum entanglement. Reflecting on the potential of his field, he said: “
If we one day truly understand quantum physics, it will be even more revolutionary than the achievements of Copernicus and Columbus."
Ferenc Krausz, a Hungarian-Austrian scientist, received the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics for his research in attosecond physics. Krausz has been an OeAW corresponding member of the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences abroad since 2004.
It’s exciting to see something that no-one could see before.
Anne L’Huillier received the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics for her discoveries in the field of attosecond physics. She has been an OeAW corresponding member of the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences abroad since 2021.
As you know, there are not so many women that get this prize, so it’s very special.
French physicist Gérard Mourou, together with his doctoral student Donna Strickland, was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics for his groundbreaking discoveries in the field of laser physics. Mourou became an OeAW corresponding member of the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences abroad in 2007.
In science, we all speak the same language, work on the same problems and try to make this world better.
Klaus von Klitzing
German physicist and OeAW member Klaus von Klitzing was awarded the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the quantum Hall effect. He was later immortalized with the so-called von Klitzing constant, a universal reference value for electrical resistance. A particular milestone for the physicist:
The most important thing for me is the von Klitzing constant. That remains, that is immortal, and that is why I am not afraid of death.
With his outstanding work, German chemist Gerhard Ertl laid the foundation for the understanding of industrial catalysts and catalytic processes and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2007. He has been an OeAW corresponding member of the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences abroad since 2001.
If you want to be successful as a scientist, you need money, patience and luck.
Eric Kandel is one of the most renowned scientists and has dedicated himself to researching the human brain for more than 60 years. Born in Austria and expelled by the Nazis in 1939, the neurobiologist was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2000. He lives in the USA and is an honorary member of the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
When I won the Nobel Prize, many Austrians wanted to claim it for themselves. I had to explain to some people that I am an American.
In 2013, the American Martin Karplus – an honorary member of the OeAW and one of the world’s leading scientists – who was born in Austria and expelled by the Nazis, received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Reflecting on his curiosity and openness to discovering new things, the theoretical chemist wrote:
The fact that I was a refugee and didn’t quite belong played a central role in my view of the world and my approach to science.
The 1984 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to the Italian researcher Carlo Rubbia, former Director-General of the European nuclear research center CERN, for discovering the W and Z bosons.
Great discoveries in science can never be predicted. There is an element of surprise that should not be underestimated.
Emmanuelle Charpentier, a French microbiologist and biochemist, has been an OeAW member since 2016. Together with Jennifer Doudna, she was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of the CRISPR/Cas9 gene scissors, which can specifically modify genetic material. Reflecting on her groundbreaking innovation in biomedical research, Charpentier said:
Success doesn’t come for free. Science takes a long time, it’s hard work, you have to be persistent and pursue your goals.
Alain Aspect, a French quantum physicist and OeAW member since 2009, was awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics together with Anton Zeilinger and John Clauser for their research on entangled quantum states.
The development of quantum mechanics early in the twentieth century obliged physicists to change radically the concepts they used to describe the world.