The Optical Society, Coblentz Society and the Society for Applied Spectroscopy Name the 2018 Ellis

22 August 2018

The Optical Society, Coblentz Society and the Society for Applied Spectroscopy
Name the 2018 Ellis R. Lippincott Award Recipient


WASHINGTON—Dr. Peter Hamm, Universität Zürich, Switzerland, has been named the 2018 Ellis R. Lippincott Award recipient, by the Optical Society (OSA), Coblentz Society and Society for Applied Spectroscopy (SAS). He is cited for seminal contributions to developing multidimensional infrared, Raman and Terahertz spectroscopy and pioneering studies of protein and hydrogen bonding dynamics in molecular liquids.

To honor Ellis R. Lippincott’s unique contributions to the field of vibrational spectroscopy, the three societies established the Lippincott Award in 1975. It is presented to a researcher who has made significant contributions to vibrational spectroscopy as judged by their influence on other scientists.


Peter Hamm studied physics at the Technical University of Munich, Germany and carried out his Ph.D. studies under Wolfgang Zinth at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich between 1991 and 1995. He continued with a postdoctoral fellowship at University of Pennsylvania, USA in the group of Robin Hochstrasser. In 1999, he was named an independent group leader at the Max Born Institute, Berlin, and, in 2001, as a professor at University of Zürich.

The focus of Hamm’s research is to establish novel spectroscopic methods in the infrared and THz spectral range, which resolve transient structures of molecular systems and the energy flow through them on very fast timescales. A wide variety of questions are addressed including complex problems such as protein folding and allosteric communication in proteins, photocatalytic water splitting and elementary structural processes in liquids like water.

“Dr. Hamm’s work in ultrafast molecular dynamics has made significant contributions to finding solutions to some of the world’s most relevant scientific challenges. For example, the dynamics of functional biomolecular processes and related structure changes,” says Award Committee Chair, Thomas Elsaesser, Max Born Institute, Germany.

“Dr. Hamm has taken some of the most powerful tools of modern spectroscopy to new levels. His discoveries using these tools promise new understanding of molecules with the potential impact for significant benefits for humankind,” says OSA President Ian Walmsley, who is Hooke Professor of Experimental Physics at University of Oxford, U.K.

About The Optical Society
Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit

About The Coblentz Society 
The Coblentz Society is a non-profit organization founded in 1954. Its purpose is to foster the understanding and application of vibrational spectroscopy. The Coblentz Society is a technical affiliate of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy (SAS). Learn more at

About Society for Applied Spectroscopy
The Society for Applied Spectroscopy is a non-profit organization dedicated to the dissemination of information related to spectroscopy. In business for over 50 years, the Society is committed to education and to providing quality benefits to members worldwide. The objective of this Society is to advance and disseminate knowledge and information concerning the art and science of spectroscopy and other allied sciences. Learn more at

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