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Körber Prize 2005: Taking Light Onto New Paths

HAMBURG, Germany, September 6 /PRNewswire/ --

- The Körber European Science Award 2005 Will be Awarded to Prof. Philip St. John Russell, Physicist From the University of Bath (UK) on Sept. 7, 2005

The Körber Foundation is awarding its 750,000 euro Prize to promote research of new types of glass fiber bundles: on Wednesday, September 7, 2005, Prof. Philip St John Russell from the University of Bath (UK), the pioneer in the field of what is referred to as photonic crystal fibers will be awarded the Körber European Science Award in the Main Hall of Hamburg's city hall. Attending will be Ole von Beust, Mayor of the Free and Hansa City of Hamburg. Each year the Prize is awarded to an individual scientist to support a specific research project in either the technical sciences or the life sciences. Prof. Russell intends to construct improved optical and infrared lasers as well as compact sources for ultraviolet and roentgen lasers that can be used in the future to produce extremely delicately structured computer chips. The research and discoveries of this professor of physics can help to develop even faster data transmission over the Internet, to improve environmental sensors to detect environmental pollutants in factories, and to develop a procedure for even more precisely identifying cells, such as in cancer cell research.

Until now, conventional glass fibers have been designed like macaroni: tubes in whose cores light beams are guided. The fibers that Philip Russell invented in 1991 have since been developed into products. In contrast to conventional fibers, they consist of a bundle of cores made of glass or of tubes of air that themselves are surrounded by thin walls and are called photonic crystal fibers. The entire fiber is only about 100 micrometer in diameter - about a fifth of that of a human hair. The research into this new type of glass fibers will, it is hoped, create a wealth of new applications.

Thanks to Philip Russell's photonic crystals, it has already been possible to build an extremely precise optical clock. In the future, the fibers could be used to optically analyze gases flowing through empty spaces. Also planned are applications in which beams of light will be used to push cells through the tubes in order to manipulate them for biological or medical purposes. Further areas profiting from Philip Russell's basic research are biology, production, and astronomy. The Prize winner, born March 25, 1953, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has been professor of physics at the University of Bath (UK) since 1996, where he heads the research group Photonics and Photonic Materials. Several stations in his academic career have been the University of Oxford (UK), universities in the USA and France, and the Technical University in Hamburg-Harburg (D).

The Trustee Committee consisting of international authorities chaired by Prof. Peter Gruss, the President of the Max Planck Society, selected this year's Prize winner. Speaking at the award ceremony will be Prof. Gesine Schwan, the President of the Europa University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder). Her topic will be "Politics and Confidence". Prof. Jan-Eric Sundgren, a member of the Trustee Committee from the Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg, will pay personal tribute to the award winner.

    Trustee Committee

    Prof. Dr. Peter Gruss (Vors.), 
    Prof. Dr. Bertil Andersson,
    Prof. Dr. Heidi Diggelmann, 
    Prof. Dr. Olaf Kübler,
    Prof. Dr. Volker ter Meulen, 
    Prof. Dr. David N. Reinhoudt,
    Prof. Dr. Jan-Eric Sundgren, 
    Prof. Dr. Widmar Tanner, 
    Prof. Dr. Sigmar Wittig

The Körber Foundation

The Körber Foundation seeks with its projects to engage citizens actively in social discourses. In this sense it sees itself as a forum for new initiatives, providing opportunities for involve-ment in politics, education, science and international communication in particular.

Active citizens can pass on knowledge, identify problems and initiate activi-ties. With these kinds of stimulus the participants make an important con-tribution to the everyday culture of democracy.

    Executive Board

    Christian Wriedt (Chair.)
    Dr. Klaus Wehmeier (Dep. Chair.)
    Dr. Wolf Schmidt

    Board of Trustees

    Ulrich Voswinckel (Chair.)

    Press contact: 

    Kehrwieder 12
    20457 Hamburg
    Telefon +49-40-80-81-92-180
    Telefax +49-40-80-81-92-304

For further information: Dr. Nikolaus Besch

SOURCE Koerber Stiftung

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