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Experimental physicist Ursula Keller wins Swiss Science Prize Marcel Benoist

Ursula Keller receives the Swiss Science Prize Marcel Benoist for her achievements in ultrafast laser physics.

Portrait of Ursula Keller
Image: Heidi Hostettler (JPEG)

It is regarded as the 'Swiss Nobel Prize' among researchers and is endowed with 250,000 Swiss francs: This year, the Swiss Science Prize Marcel Benoist goes to Ursula Keller, Professor of Experimental Physics at the Institute for Quantum Electronics at ETH Zurich. She has frequently pushed the boundaries of ultrafast laser physics with both theoretical models and experimental results.
The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) was responsible for selecting the award winner on behalf of the Marcel Benoist Foundation. Today, 3 November, the joint award ceremony with the Latsis Swiss Science Prize will take place in the Rathaus in Berne.

Ursula Keller has provided valuable services to SCNAT: she was a long-standing member of SCNAT's Round Table International for planning cost-intensive research infrastructures.

Inventor of SESAM technology

Ursula Keller invented the SESAM technology in 1991. SESAM stands for Semiconductor Saturable Absorber Mirror. This technology made it possible to produce light pulses lasting around a femtosecond – one millionth of a billionth of a second – using solid-state lasers. This allows researchers to study the movements of atoms or the mechanisms of chemical reactions.