The International Research Award


The international research prize of NOK 5 million went to Professor Lene Vestergaard Hau for her research about light. Together with her research team she succeeded to “ stop the light”.

Lene Vestergaard Hau taler i Professorboligen
Photo: Terje Heiestad/UiO

The Olav Thon Foundation distributes for 2019, a total of NOK 33 millions. This is divided between one international research award, three national awards for excellence in teaching in higher education, two Nordic research projects in medicine and four national projects for student active research.

Professor Lene Vesteraard Hau, is the winner of this year’s international research award of the Olav Thon Foundation. She is the Mallinckrodt professor of Physics and of Applied Physics and is on the faculty of the Harvard Biophysics Program.

Lene Vestergaard Hau blir utdelt pris av Olav Thon i Universitetets Aula.
Photo: Terje Heiestad/UiO

Vestergaard Hau led a team who succeeded in slowing a pulse of light to 15 miles per hour and brought light to a stop. They took matters even further as they stopped and extinguished a light pulse in one part of space, and subsequently revived it in a different location. In the process, the light pulse is converted to a perfect matter copy that can be stored – put on the shelf – sculpted, and then turned back to light. These results represent a new paradigm for information processing.

“A researcher must not be careful! GO for the big steps!”

Lene Vestergaard Hau
Lene Vestergaard Hau taler under utdelingen av Olav Thon Stiftelsens
Photo: Terje Heiestad/UiO

The annual awards ceremony of the Olav Thon Foundation took place at the University of Oslo on Thursday, 07th of March 2019.

Vestergaard Hau has recently embarked on a new research program at the interface of the fields of light-matter interactions, nanoscience, and molecular and synthetic biology.