OSA | Living History

Herbert Walther

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 appointed as professor at the Rheinische-Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, but then moved to the University of Cologne in the same year. In 1975 he was appointed Chair of Physics at Ludwig Maximilian’s University Munich until his retirement in March 2003. He is known for his work in plasma and laser physics.

Walther was an OSA Fellow, volunteer, and the recipient of the 1990 Charles Hard Townes Medal and the 2003 Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus W. Quinn Prize.

He was a 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 unitl 2003. After retirement, he continued to serve as the leader of the Laser Physics Emeritus Group, most actively involved in research.

Herbert Walther died on 22 July 2006, please see OSA's memorial entry.


Document Created: 19 Dec 2019
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2019