It is a great pleasure to announce that the Autumn 2014 EPS Emmy Noether Distinction for Women in Physics goes to Prof. Anne L’Huillier, Faculty of Engineering, LTH in Lund, Sweden.
Anne is one of the key leaders in a field at the interface of atomic and molecular physics and advanced optics, nonlinear optics and laser physics: high-order harmonic generation [HHG] in gaseous media exposed to intense laser fields and its applications, in particular to attosecond science.
After a thesis in experimental atomic physics at CEA Saclay, Anne got a permanent position as researcher at CEA in 1986 and, one year later, participated in an experiment where high harmonics were observed for the first time. She moved to Sweden in 1994, was awarded a lecturer position in 1995 and a professorship in 1997. Enjoying the university environment, which allowed her to combine basic research and teaching, she focused her experimental and theoretical work on the understanding and the optimization of the HHG process, and on its applications to ultra-fast x-ray science, with the ambitious goal to capture and ultimately control the motion of electrons in atoms and molecules on the attosecond timescale.
She is a member of the Swedish Academy of Sciences since 2004.
We present a short interview between Anne L’Huillier [ALH] and Lucia Di Ciaccio [LDC], chair of the Equal Opportunities Committee of the EPS, in December 2014.
LDC: At what point in your education did you consider a career in physics?
ALH: Actually very early, as a child. But kept it discrete since I was not sure I could make it.
LDC: Do you believe that physics should positively discriminate in favour of women?
ALH: This is a very difficult question for me since I benefitted myself early in my career from a program “for women”. My answer is no, women should not be positively discriminated. But one should avoid that good, competent, women stop their career because of lack of funding, lack of position, or simply lack of help/encouragement. We just can’t afford to loose these women!
LDC: Do you have advice to girls who wish to start a career in physics?
ALH: This is a great job which is exciting and which also gives a lot of freedom. Go for it!