Five Nobel Prize winners in physics visited Prague at the invitation of the Academy of Sciences

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The world‘s leading physicists took part in a discussion at a conference organized by the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences entitled Frontiers of Quantum and Mesoscopic Thermodynamics which took place at the Pyramida Hotel between July 15 and July 20. The participants also included five Nobel Prize winners: Theodor Hänsch, Gerard't Hooft, Wolfgang Ketterle, William Phillips and Rainer Weiss. Three of them gave, apart from their expert talks, popular lectures that are open to the public. The symposium will also be attended by Marlan Scully, a legendary pioneer in quantum and laser physics, to whom the conference has been dedicated.

The international conference, featuring over 160 top experts, addressed the latest findings related to the behaviour of very small systems of tens and hundreds of nanometers. These systems are highly interesting not only from the perspective of the foundations of quantum physics but also from the perspective of nanotechnologies and the development of new generations of computers, including “quantum computers”. The study of such systems is essential for further development of chemistry, and especially biology and medicine as they play a decisive role in the behaviour of biological systems at the molecular level.


Dr. William Phillips who started the program for public had been engaged in science outreach in long-term.

Lectures for a public audience

The international conference, also known as the “FQMT”, has traditionally been held in the Czech capital; this year it has been the seventh time. The conference also included three lectures by Nobel Prize winners for the public audience which were given in English. These lectures were followed by concerts of classical music.

“The tradition of lectures which are understandable and attractive for the public audience by world-renowned experts is particularly strong in the Western world. The Academy of Sciences has followed this tradition,” says Eva Zažímalová, the President of the Academy of Sciences. The FQMT conference is held under her auspices and under the auspices of the President of the Czech Republic, the President of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, the Mayor of Prague and the Archbishop of Prague.



Wolfgang Ketterle was distributing roses for questions from the audience at Národní dům, Vinohrady, Prague. Credit: Jana Plavec.


Honorary awards by the President of the Senate and the President of the Academy of Sciences

The conference also included an Honorary Awards ceremony. Jaroslav Kubera, the President of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, awarded silver honorary medals to Wolfgang Ketterle, William Phillips and Rainer Weiss. Eva Zažímalová, the President of the Czech Academy of Sciences, awarded the “De scientia et humanitate optime meritis” Honorary Medal to Marlan Scully and the Ernst Mach Honorary Medal for Merits in Physical Sciences to Theodor Hänsch.


Schedule of public lectures and concerts

  • July 16, 2019, Pyramida Hotel, 7 p.m. – public lecture “Time, Einstein and the coolest stuff in the universe” by Nobel Prize winner in physics professor William Phillips. The lecture will be followed by a concert of classical music featuring Prague Brass Soloists, Luboš Hucek, Josef Kšica and Jan Thuri.
  • July 17, 2019, National House at Vinohrady, 5 p.m. – public lectures by Nobel Prize winners in physics: professor Rainer Weiss: „The beginnings of gravitational wave astronomy“; professor Wolfgang Ketterle: „Cooling close to absolute zero temperature: A recipe for discoveries“. The lectures will be followed by a concert of classical music featuring Praga Camerata Chamber orchestra, Luboš Hucek, Miroslav Kejmar, Josef Kšica, Jan Thuri and Tomáš Víšek.
  • July 18, 2019, St. Vitus Cathedral, 8 p.m. – concert of classical music: featuring Miroslav Kejmar, Josef Kšica and Přemysl Kšica.
  • • July 19, 2019, Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Strahov Monastery, 9 p.m. – classical music concert: featuring Tomáš Jindra, Miroslav Kejmar, Josef Kšica, Marek Stříteský and Jan Thuri.


Entry to public events is free of charge, prior registration is required: here.

Detailed conference programme
More about FQMT´19