Francesca Ferlaino

Physicist Francesca Ferlaino was awarded the Ignaz L Lieben Prize for outstanding research achievements in quantum physics, particularly in the field of ultracold quantum gases. This is the oldest and one of the most highly renowned awards granted by the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

On Tuesday last week, the award ceremony of the Ignaz L. Lieben Prize took place in Vienna, where Francesca Ferlaino, Professor at the Institute of Experimental Physics at the University of Innsbruck and Scientific Director at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, received the award that is valued at 36,000 USD. By awarding this prize the Austrian Academy of Sciences recognizes her outstanding research achievements in the field of ultracold quantum gases. For example, she was the first to realize a Bose-Einstein condensate of erbium (Er) and shortly after that she created the first degenerate Fermi gas of the same type. Ferlaino is working on dipolar quantum phenomena and has already proven many-body and few-body dipolar effects. Examples are the observation of an interaction-driven deformation of the Fermi surface and the complex spectra of scattering resonances, which are dominated by the anisotropy of the interactions. At the moment she is working on combining two strongly magnetic elements, erbium (Er) and dysprosium (Dy), which will open the door to investigations of complex geometry-dependent quantum systems.

About Ferlaino

Francesca Ferlaino was born in Naples, Italy, in 1977. She studied physics at the University of Naples and received a master degree at the International School of Advanced Studies (ISAS) in Trieste. Ferlaino earned a PhD at the University of Florence and the local European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy (LENS). In 2006 she was visiting scientist with the research group of Wittgenstein awardee Rudolf Grimm in Innsbruck. Since 2009 Francesca Ferlaino has been working at the Institute for Experimental Physics in Innsbruck. In her research career the physicist has received the most highly renowned awards for junior scientists in Austria (START Prize 2009) and in Europe (ERC Starting Grant 2010). In 2013 she was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, which is the most prestigious and highly valued German research award worth up to five million Euro.

Highly prestigious award

Until 1937 the Ignaz-Lieben Prize was the most important contribution to the promotion of natural sciences in Austria. Ignaz L. Lieben stipulated in his testament that 6,000 florins should be used “for the common best.” In 1863, on the initiative of his son Adolf Lieben, this money was given to the Austrian Imperial Academy of Sciences and the Ignaz L. Lieben Foundation was established. In 1938 the Ignaz L. Lieben Prize was discontinued because of the persecution of the family. With financial support from Alfred and Isabel Bader the Prize was reinstated in 2004. In 2005 another scientist from Innsbruck received this prestigious award: chemist Ronald Micura. Former recipients of the Ignaz Lieben Prize are Fritz Pregl, Victor Franz Hess and Lise Meitner among others.

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