As part of our Global Call and search for the Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year 2023, we invited leading actors in science and academia worldwide to nominate the latest breakthroughs and outstanding science projects in 9 different categories, Physical Sciences being one of them. Our distinguished jury for Physical Sciences, chaired by Ian Walmsley, selected 10 excellent winners in this category and awarded Libor Šmejkal, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz with the prestigious title Science Breakthrough of the Year, Physical Sciences.
MEET OUR Physical SCIENCES WINNERS
ARNE THOMAS – TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITÄT BERLIN
Breaking the Wall to Store the Energy of Sunlight
Arne Thomas investigated highly porous organic photocatalysts, prepared at ambient conditions, which allow to tailor their structure and optoelectronic properties.
HONG TANG – YALE UNIVERSITY
Breaking the Wall to the First Photonic Circuit Integrated Ti:Sa Laser
Hong Tang produced the first photonic circuit integrated Ti:Sa chip laser with an ultralow threshold, a breakthrough in solid-state laser technology, integrated photonics, ultrafast optics and spectroscopy.
KESHAV DANI – OKINAWA INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY GRADUATE UNIVERSITY
Breaking the Wall to Imaging the Momentum-Forbidden Dark Excitons
Keshav Dani developed a novel class of instrumentation in multi-dimensional photoemission spectroscopy re-iterating its value for quantum technology applications.
LIBOR ŠMEJKAL – JOHANNES GUTENBERG UNIVERSITY MAINZ
Breaking the Wall to Magnetic Quantum Matter
By analysing all possible mathematical symmetries of the spin in magnetic crystals Libor Smejkal identified altermagnets and opened new routes toward sustainable nanoelectronics.
LEO GROSS – IBM RESEARCH EUROPE – ZURICH
Breaking the Wall to Resolving Single Molecules
By using a microscope with atomic resolution, Leo Gross discovered novel chemical reactions that reveal new molecule structure and can impact cleaner combustion, medical research, chemical synthesis and devising novel molecular machines.
MIKHAIL LUKIN – HARVARD UNIVERSITY
Breaking the Wall to Quantum Information Processing
Mikhail Lukin used neutral atom arrays trapped and transported by optical tweezers to realize the programmable generation of entangled graph states.
PABLO JARILLO-HERRERO – MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
Breaking the Wall to Twistronics
Pablo Jarillo-Herrero constituted the new platform ‘Twistronics’ which makes it possible to realize most of the quantum phases of matter known in physics.
THOMAS KLINGER – MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR PLASMA PHYSICS
Breaking the Wall to Fusion Power with Wendelstein 7-X
Thomas Klinger used the stellarator “Wendelstein 7-X to deliver major breakthroughs in creating a fusion-relevant plasma that paves the way to make fusion power finally available to the world.
VALENTINA EMILIANI – VISION INSTITUTE, CNRS
Breaking the Wall to Neural Circuit Manipulation at Cellular Resolution
Valentina Emiliani proposed optical methods for precise control of individual neurons or ensembles of neurons in the brain mimicking specific patterns of brain activity and relating them to animal behavior.
VIVEK POLSHETTIWAR – TATA INSTITUTE OF FUNDAMENTAL RESEARCH
Breaking the Wall of CO2 Net Zero Using Black Gold
To realise CO2 “net zero”, Vivek Polshettiwar’s developed material “BLACK GOLD” absorbs the entire visible and near-infrared region of solar light and catalyzes CO2 to fuel conversion at atmospheric pressure and temperature using solar energy.
The Global Call 2023 has ended on 15 May 2023, the next Global Call will take place in 2024. You will find all relevant information and updates here and in our newsletter.
Falling Walls seeks internationally recognised, established academics, and leaders in the observation and understanding of natural phenomena of the earth, atmosphere and space (e.g. chemistry, physics, astronomy), whose groundbreaking work contributes towards solving the world’s biggest challenges.