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Energy in new light at the Celsius-Linné lectures

Press release

The human desire to master light has taken us from controlling fire to building global optical networks. But several questions still remain to be answered. At this year's Celsius-Linné lectures on February 18, top international researchers Professor Eli Yablonovitch and Professor Lene Vestergaard Hau will present pioneering ways to manage and manipulate light for use in countless areas.

In February each year, the Faculty of Science and Technology at Uppsala University arranges two lectures in memory of Anders Celsius and Carl von Linné (a.k.a Linnaeus). The invited lecturers are scientists whose world-leading and highly topical research has attracted attention in the research world and is of great general interest.

This year’s lectures will take place in the Siegbahn Hall at the Ångström Laboratory in Uppsala. The lecturers are Professor Eli Yablonovitch from UC Berkeley, USA, and Professor Lene Vestergaard Hau from Harvard University, USA. On Friday, February 19, a multidisciplinary Celsius-Linné Symposium will be held, with the theme “Winter Light”, also at the Ångström Laboratory.

The media are cordially invited to attend both events. The lectures on the 18th will be broadcast and possible to watch after the fact.

How do solar cells become as efficient as possible? Celsius lecturer Eli Yablonovitch will talk about his surprising research results with photovoltaic cells reaching close to 30 percent efficiency. This new knowledge also opens up the possibility to, without the help of sunlight, convert heat into electricity with over 50 percent efficiency.

Yablonovitch’s early research forms the basis of the so-called Photonic bandgap materials. He also introduced the concept of the Photonic crystal that has had far-reaching implications from understanding the animal world, all the way to fundamental physics.

Linné lecturer Lene Vestergaard Hau has made very successful experiment with manipulating photons - light particles and, among other things, managed to slow down light speed from 300 000 kilometers per second to 17 metres per second, and then stop the momentum completely. To capture and freeze the motion of light enables the management of even larger amounts of information using quantum computers and fiber optic networks.

In a new research program, Lene Vestergaard Hau explores the interaction between light and matter in relation to photosynthetic systems, which can play a significant role in the future production of bio-energy.

On Friday February 19, a multidisciplinary Celsius-Linné Symposium will be held 09:30 - 15:10 also in the Siegbahn Hall, the Ångström Laboratory. The Celsius-Linné lecturers will be joined by researchers from Uppsala and Lund University to present various perspectives on light. How can increased knowledge of light within the fields of science and technology transform society? At the end, there will be a concluding discussion with opportunities for audience participation.

All interested are welcome to the lectures and the symposium – no registration needed. All parts of the programs will be in English.

Please also see the University website, where you can download the program.

For more information contact Professor Gunilla Borgefors, chair Celsius-Linné committe, +46 (0)18-471 3466, +46 (0)70-628 08 54 (accessed via sms),