Prof. Dr. Danilo Zavrtanik and Prof. Dr. Giovanni De Ninno receive the Blinc Award

Nov. 5, 2020

Today, the Jožef Stefan Institute and the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the University of Ljubljana announced via the Zoom video conferencing system, the winners of the Blinc Award for 2020 for research and professional work in the field of physics.

This year, two of the award recipients are associates of the University of Nova Gorica. The Blinc Lifetime Achievement Award in the field of physics was awarded to the Rector of the University of Nova Gorica and an associate at the Jožef Stefan Institute, Prof. Dr. Danilo Zavrtanik, while the Head of the Laboratory of Quantum Optics of the University of Nova Gorica, Prof. Dr. Giovanni De Ninno, received the Blinc Award for extraordinary single achievement in the field of physics.

As stated in the justification of the award, the scientific activity of Prof. Dr. Danilo Zavrtanik comprises at least three broad fields: top-level research in the field of experimental high energy physics, focus on international collaboration and research in a globally competitive scientific environment, and educational work and establishment of higher education studies. Since 1980, Prof. Zavrtanik has been continuously participating in the European Organisation for Nuclear Research – CERN, in Geneva. In 1995, on invitation by the Nobel prize winner, James W. Cronin, he began research work in a new field for him, astrophysics, or more precisely, high energy cosmic particles. Being an internationally established researcher, he was appointed as Director General of the Jožef Stefan Institute in 1992. In 1995, he initiated and promoted the establishment of the University of Nova Gorica, of which he has been Rector since 2010.

For his research work in the field of coherent transfer of orbital angular momentum of light to electron, published in the journal Nature Photonics, Prof. Dr. Giovanni De Ninno received the Blinc Award. In this work, a team of scientists led by Prof. De Ninno demonstrated the coherent transfer of orbital angular momentum from a photon beam to an electron wave released from a helium atom. What makes this published work so outstanding is the controlled interaction of the wave function of the photon with the wave functions of electrons that have a wavelength that is over a thousand times shorter. This discovery can be used for many applications, from new materials to quantum computers, as it implicitly opens access to the large quantities of information which an electron can provide about its parent environment.

In addition to the mentioned awardees, the Blinc Award for physicists at the start of their career was presented to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jernej Fesel Kamenik, from the Jožef Stefan Institute and the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the University of Ljubljana, for high-visibility research in elementary particle physics, especially in the field of heavy quark and lepton physics and in the field of dark matter interactions with Standard model particles.

Congratulations!

Andreja Leban, Public Relations

Prof. Dr. Danilo Zavrtanik. Photo: CasarsaGuru
Prof. Dr. Giovanni De Ninno. Photo: Miha Godec