Nathalie Picqué receives the 2024 William F. Meggers Award

The Meggers Award of OPTICA (formerly the Optical Society) was established in 1970 to honour the memory of William F. Meggers, an American physicist specialising in spectroscopy. It is awarded annually in recognition of outstanding achievements in spectroscopy. Previous winners include later Nobel laureates Theodor Hänsch, Steven Chu, David Wineland and Pierre Agostini.

OPTICA has announced that Prof. Dr. Nathalie Picqué is the winner of the 2024 William F. Meggers Award for her path-breaking work on broadband molecular spectroscopy using interfering frequency combs. The award has just been presented at the CLEO conference in Charlotte, NC USA. "This award also recognises the work of my PhD students, postdocs and visiting scientists. I am very grateful to them for their invaluable contributions. My work would be unthinkable without their help," says Nathalie Picqué. The Meggers Award recognises her pioneering role in the development of dual-comb spectroscopy, which offers unique capabilities in spectral coverage, resolution, accuracy, sensitivity and the potential for miniaturised instruments.


Nathalie Picqué at the award ceremony during the CLEO conference on 7 May 2024.

Credit: Optica


Nathalie Picqué has previously received numerous prizes and awards, including the Gentner-Kastler Prize, the Helmholtz Prize, the Falling Walls Breakthrough of the Year and the Grand Prix Cecile DeWitt-Morette. She is also the first female scientist in Germany to receive an ERC Advanced Grant in Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics. Many of her former students and postdocs are now professors and research leaders at universities and research institutions around the world. Nathalie Picqué has recently been appointed Director of the Max Born Institute and Professor of Physics at Humboldt University in Berlin. She is now establishing the Division of Precision Physics at the Max Born Institute, which will offer exciting new research opportunities for young scientists with academic ambitions.