“Thank God for outside money for basic research,” says the Nobel laureate.

“Thank God for outside money for basic research,” says the Nobel laureate.

Nobel prize

After 40 years, curiosity-driven basic research is still important to Anne Lhuillier. She is the first Nobel laureate at Lund University.

Anne Lhuillier has lived in Sweden since the early 1990s. Lund University brought the young French star researcher there, and boasted the use of a highly advanced laser.

In 1987, Anne Lhuillier discovered how a large number of light tones were created when she sent infrared laser light through the noble gas.


Nobel laureates 2023

  • Physics:
    Pierre Agostini (Tunisia), Ferenc Krausz (Hungary), and Anne Lhuillier (France)
  • chemistry:
    Louis Bruce (USA), Alexei Ekimov (Russia), Mongi Boundy (France)
  • Physiology or medicine: Katalin Karikó (Hungary) and Drew Wiseman (USA)
  • Peace Prize:
    Narges Mohammadi (Iran)
  • literature:
    John Foss (Norway)
  • Nobel Memorial Prize (Economics): Claudia Goldin

For non-physicists, it may be difficult to understand what this means. But what Lhuillier discovered, and has now received a Nobel Prize for, is an increased understanding of attosecond physics. A totosecond is a billionth of a billionth of a second, and a greater understanding of how the smallest components of something work can be used in a number of areas: faster technology in cell phones, new medical diagnostics, and more energy-efficient solar panels.

“Curiosity-based research takes time,” Lhuillier tells Khrono.

She came to Sweden in 1992, simply because Lund University then acquired a completely unique laser device.

“She came with a truck full of experimental equipment,” Claes-Goran Wahlstrom said. SVT.

He is a professor of nuclear physics and also became L’Huillier’s husband a few years after she moved to Sweden.

Nobel prize

Foss followed from the front row: — Great experience

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Basic research 40 years later

Khrono was present during Nobel Week in Stockholm last week. During press conferences with the winners of the Nobel Prizes in Medicine, Physics, Chemistry and the Memorial Prize in Economics, there was one word that kept coming up: basic research.

– We thought that our research could be used in industry, not that it could be used in television, among other things. Louis E. said: Bruce, one of the winners in chemistry: “For us this was basic research, our work in the laboratory.”

He, along with Alexei Gekimov and Monje G. Boundy, received the award for the discovery of quantum dots. These can be used, among other things, to create better television images.

“This shows that research is not only fun for us, but could one day become important,” Bruce continued.

– The system stipulates that you must have external funding for research, and then it is up to the researchers to get the right contacts. I came to Sweden for the first time because of the research collaboration, Lhuillier tells Chrono.

In Sweden, the research funding system is different from that in Norway, where several large private foundations distribute funds, among others. When Lund University received the money to buy the pioneering laser, this was the amount Partially funded by the Wallenberg Foundation. Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation It provides approximately two billion kroner annually for basic research in medicine, technology and natural sciences.

“Fortunately, there is external funding for basic research,” Lhuillier says.

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“It’s important to be able to do this kind of research,” she says, and also points to the EU system and the Swedish Research Council as places to get money.

— We’re still doing a lot of basic research, 40 years later, although we now have some leads to follow.

Nobel prize

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First also for a French partner

Lhuillier’s Nobel Prize is the first ever awarded to Lund University. The university has set up its own fund Their websites On the road to the prize.

-I also worked at the CEA Paris-Saclay research center in France. Here too, I am the first winner, so the joy is double, says Lhuillier.

– Do you think, “I can get a Nobel Prize for this work”?

– My goal was not to win the Nobel Prize. But in the last two years there has been more interest in my research, especially after I got the Wolf Prize. But before then I didn’t think about it at all.

Low speed

Several Nobel Prize winners were asked what they thought of the latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) figures. Schoolchildren are performing worse than before, and in some countries girls are now falling behind.

Catalin Carrico, this year’s Nobel laureate in medicine or physiology, confirmed this When she met the press That it is possible to be a researcher and a parent.

— Lhuillier What will it take to get more girls choosing science?

– Role models are important. For me, Marie Curie was important, and now I am another successful woman.

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The French-Swedish Nobel Prize winner also has a wife and children.

– Your career may slow down when you have young children. But the time when children are young, the scientific career is 40 years. Success depends on will, and perhaps also a little luck.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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