American Philosophical Society
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106. Physics[X]
1Name:  Dr. Lene Vestergaard Hau
 Institution:  Harvard University
 Year Elected:  2023
 Class:  1. Mathematical and Physical Sciences
 Subdivision:  106. Physics
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1959
Lene Vestergaard Hau is the Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and of Applied Physics and is the Area Chair for Applied Physics at Harvard University. Prior to joining the Harvard faculty in 1999, she was a senior scientist at the Rowland Institute for Science in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and holds a Ph.D. in Physics from University of Aarhus, Denmark. Hau led a team who succeeded in slowing a pulse of light to 15 miles per hour and also brought light to a stop. They took matters further as they stopped and extinguished a light pulse in one part of space, and subsequently revived it in a different location. In the process, the light pulse is converted to a perfect matter copy that can be stored, sculpted, and then turned back to light. These results represent the ultimate quantum control of light and matter. Hau’s team also utilized the great spatial compression of ultra-slow light pulses to generate quantum shock waves in Bose-Einstein condensates thereby opening up a new field for studies of the rich and dramatic nonlinear dynamics of these superfluid, cold atomic systems. Hau has contributed to a wide variety of research fields. Her Ph.D. work was in theoretical condensed matter physics and she later shifted her attention to experimental and theoretical optical and atomic physics. Her research has included studies of ultra-cold atoms and superfluid Bose-Einstein condensates, as well as channeling of high-energy electrons, protons, and positrons in single crystals with experiments at CERN and Brookhaven National Laboratory. Her group has manipulated atomic matter waves with nanoscale structures, and performed protein studies at the single molecule level with biological nanopores. She is a 2001 MacArthur Fellow, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Physical Society. Hau is also the recipient of numerous awards, including Harvard University’s Ledlie Prize, the Ole Roemer Medal, awarded by the University of Copenhagen, and the Richtmyer Memorial Lecture Award awarded by the American Association of Physics Teachers. In 2010, she was named "World Dane," and in 2012 "Thomson Reuters (Clarivate) Citation Laureate in Physics." In 2018 she was honored with the Lise Meitner Distinguished Lecture and Medal, sponsored by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences through its Nobel Committee for Physics, and in 2019 with the Lars Onsager Lecture and Medal by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and the Dirac Medal and Lecture by the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, and the Australian Institute of Physics. Lene Hau’s research is described on RadioLab’s "Master of the Universe."
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