Canadian physicist, Dr. Paul Corkum, has been awarded the prestigious Wolf Prize in Physics for his pioneering contributions to the field of attosecond science. The Wolf Foundation announced the winners of the 2022 Wolf Prize, and Dr. Corkum shares this recognition with European physicists Ferenc Krausz and Anne l’Huillier. The Wolf Prize is widely regarded as one of the highest honours in physics and chemistry, second only to the Nobel Prize.
Dr. Corkum’s career has been marked by groundbreaking research and transformative discoveries in ultrafast laser spectroscopy. He is currently a Professor at the University of Ottawa, a Research Officer at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), and co-director of the NRC-uOttawa Joint Centre for Extreme Photonics.
At the heart of Dr. Corkum’s work lies the realm of attosecond science, which deals with phenomena occurring at a mind-bogglingly brief time scale—one billionth of a billionth of a second. Collaborating with fellow physicist Ferenc Krausz, Dr. Corkum achieved a monumental milestone by producing 650-attosecond pulses of light. These ultrashort, powerful pulses have allowed scientists to capture the movement of subatomic particles and witness molecular reactions in real-time.
A key achievement of Dr. Corkum’s research is the first experimental image of a molecular orbital and the first space-time image of an attosecond pulse. His work has paved the way for studying electron motion in atoms, molecules, and solids, unravelling the underlying processes behind essential chemical reactions and biological functions on the molecular level. Such insights are invaluable for advancing fields like medicine, computing, and engineering.
The Wolf Prize, awarded by the Wolf Foundation, recognizes outstanding contributions to science and the arts for the betterment of humanity and fostering global harmony among diverse communities. To date, 345 scientists and artists worldwide have been honoured with this distinction.
The University of Ottawa and the Nexus for Quantum Technologies congratulates Dr. Corkum on this remarkable achievement, acknowledging his pivotal role in shaping the field of attosecond science.