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Please join us in-person and online for the annual Wheatstone Lecture at King's College London with Nobel Prize winner Gérard Mourou.

Using extreme lasers to unlock the secrets of the universe

An extreme-light laser is a universal source, providing high-energy radiation with the highest field, pressure and temperature. It offers the opportunity for us to explain some of the biggest unanswered questions in fundamental physics, including where cosmic rays come from or the loss of information in black holes. This phenomenon challenges classical notions, suggesting that information about objects swallowed by black holes may not be entirely lost.

This laser technology can also be used in conjunction with wake-field acceleration, a technique where charged particles are accelerated by interacting with the laser light field passing through a medium like plasma. This tandem use of extreme-light lasers and wake-field acceleration allows scientists to investigate crucial aspects of particle physics within a laboratory environment. In addition, extreme light enables studying vacuum structure and particle production in "empty" space.

This allows to delve into the depths of fundamental quantum electrodynamics (QED), which describes the interactions between charged particles and electromagnetic fields, and can be extended to potentially probing quantum chromodynamics (QCD), a branch of theoretical physics that elucidates the strong force binding quarks and gluons within protons, neutrons, and other hadrons.

Professor Gérard Mourou will explore ground-breaking concepts for generating attosecond-zeptosecond high-energy pulses and coherent X-ray pulses and his research into the next era of laser-matter interactions at the quantum electrodynamic limits, ultrahigh power and energy regime.


Speaker bio

Gérard Mourou was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics, alongside his former student Donna Strickland, for the development of Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA).

A key figure in ultrafast lasers, high-speed electronics, and medicine, he co-invented the Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA) at the University of Rochester, revolutionising optics. In 2005, Professor Mourou proposed the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI), distributed across Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary. Professor Mourou also pioneered the field of femtosecond ophthalmology using CPA femtosecond laser, with over a million procedures performed annually.

Gérard Mourou is Professor Haut-Collège at the École Polytechnique and A.D. Moore Distinguished University Emeritus Professor of the University of Michigan. He received his undergraduate education at the University of Grenoble (1967) and his PhD from Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie (UPMC) in 1973. Gérard Mourou is a member of several prestigious academies, including the National Academy of Engineering.

Disclaimer: For in-person events we operate a policy of overbooking, given drop-out rates. Please ensure you arrive in good time to avoid disappointment on the day.


  • This event will be livestreamed from 17:00 to 19:30 and a recording will be shared on the NMES Faculty YouTube channel.
  • You will receive the livestream link closer to the event.

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Event details

Safra Lecture Theatre
King's Building
Strand Campus, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS