Herbert Walther was born on January 19, 1935 in Ludwigshafen/Rhein. He studied Physics at Ruprecht Karl’s University Heidelberg where he received his diploma in 1960 and his Ph.D. two years later. He worked as a research scientist at the University of Hanover, at Laboratoire Aimé Cotton (CNRS) in Orsay (France) and at the Joint Laboratory of Astrophysics in Boulder, Colorado (USA). In 1971 he was first appointed as professor at the Rheinische-Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, but moved to the University of Cologne in the same year. In 1975 he was appointed Chair of Physics at Ludwig Maximilian’s University Munich till his retirement in March 2003.
Prof. Herbert Walther was the founding member of the Max Planck project group Laserforschung at the Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics (IPP) in 1976. He was the founding member of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in 1981 and the director at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics from 1981 till 2003.
Professor Herbert Walther was Director at MPQ and leader of the Laser Physics Division till his retirement in February 2003. Even afterwards he stayed as leader of the Laser Physics Emeritus Group most actively involved in research. As a result of a long illness he died in Munich on July 22, 2006.