The Visit of Nobel laureate Prof. Anne L’Huillier

The Finnish Physical Society has a tradition of inviting the Nobel laureates in Physics each year to Helsinki to present to our physics community and the wider public. One of the 2023 laureates, Prof. Anne L’Huillier, continued this excellent tradition on Wednesday the 6th of March.

In the morning, Prof. L’Huillier visited the French-Finnish School in Helsinki (Lycée franco-finlandais d’Helsinki). There, she presented her research in an accessible manner to over two hundred high school students and their teachers. The students were clearly excited by the visit, with non-stop questions for a full forty minutes. Our President also attended and provided Finnish Physical Society reflectors to the students and staff, along with copies of the European Physical Society calendar of inspiring physicists for the school. This visit was coordinated by the French Institute in Finland.

Pictured, from left to right, are: Mehdi Chergui (Assistant Headmaster for French-language Teaching at the French-Finnish School), Martin Moritz (Teacher at the European School of Helsinki), Prof. Anne L’Huillier, Stéphane Schorderet (Director of the French Institute in Finland), Najat Ouakrim-Soivio (Headmistress of the French-Finnish School), Kristiina Siimes (Director of the European School of Helsinki), and Mathieu Girerd (Attaché for Science and Higher Education). Photo credit: French Institute in Finland.

In the afternoon, Prof. L’Huillier gave a public lecture at the Great Hall of the University of Helsinki. This lecture, titled the route to attosecond pulses, described the technological and scientific advances that ultimately led to the creation of attosecond pulses and her being awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2023. This was broadcast live online, and the recording is available on our YouTube channel here.

Following the lecture, and a long line of photograph requests from the audience, Prof. L’Huillier attended a reception in her honour hosted by the French Ambassador to Finland at the French Embassy in Helsinki. Guests included those invited by the Ambassador, those invited by our President, and members of the Finnish Physical Society.

In the evening, Prof. L’Huillier attended a dinner in her honour hosted by our President in central Helsinki. The guests included the signatories of the original letter of invitation to Helsinki, our 2023 Master’s Thesis Prize winner, and representatives of our board.

Pictured from left to right, are: Dr Inkeri Kontro (FPS Division of Physics Education Chair), Dr Ondřej Krejčí (FPS Diversity in Physics Working Group Chair), Dr Daniel Price (FPS President), Prof. Simo Huotari (University of Helsinki, Head of the Department of Physics), Ms Tiina Minkkinen (FPS 2023 Master’s Thesis Prize winner), Prof. Hannu Koskinen (Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters President), Prof. Anne L’Huillier, Prof. Martti Kauranen (Research Council of Finland, Vice-Chair of the Board), and Prof. Robin Ras (Aalto University, Head of the Department of Physics).

We are very grateful to Prof. L’Huillier for taking the time out of her busy schedule to visit Helsinki, and we extend our sincerest thanks on behalf of the Finnish physics community.

We thank all of our partners for their financial and logistical support which made this visit possible, and acknowledge grants from the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters and the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters.