Professor Paul Bruce Corkum

Professor Paul Bruce Corkum of the University of Ottawa, Canada has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Aarhus University. Dr Corkum was nominated by the Department of Science and Technology. Corkum’s pioneering work on generating attosecond light pulses  (an attosecond is one quintillionth of a second) has been fundamental to the development of attophysics, which is the study of the dynamics of atomic electrons.

Corkum is one of the world’s leading experimental physicists, and he has a unique ability to explain complex physics phenomena using simple models. Probably the most famous of these is the ‘three-step model’ of high-harmonic generation (HHG) which explains how the ionisation of atoms or molecules by an intense laser pulse causes them to emit high-energy electrons, extreme ultraviolet light or even X-rays. This ground-breaking work lay the foundation for attosecond science and the techniques that have made it possible to capture images of molecules in chemical reactions – two research areas whose applications and possibilities have grown explosively in recent years.

Corkum’s excellent research results are documented in his many articles in respected journals such as Nature, Science and Physical Review Letters, and he is frequently cited by other scientists. He has an h-index of 71 and over 24,000 citations.

Corkum has received numerous awards and honours throughout his career. He has inspired countless scientists in the fields of physics and chemistry, and several research groups at Aarhus University have benefited from his influence, both through Corkum’s research group, JASLab, a partnership between the University of Ottawa and the National Research Council of Canada, and research partnerships.



Education and academic positions

2008 – present:         Canada Research Chair, University of Ottawa

1975-2008:     Scientist, National Research Council of Canada

1973-1973:      Postdoc, National Research Council of Canada

1972:   PhD degree in physics, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA

Selected prizes and honours

2015:   Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate

2013:   Harvey Prize, The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

2013:   King Faisal International Prize for Science (Physics)

2012:   Foreign member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences

2010:   Fellow of Optical Society of America

2009: Foreign member of US Academy of Sciences

2007: Officer of the Order of Canada

2007:  Fellow of the American Physical Society

2005:  Fellow of the Royal Society (of London)


Field: Attosecond physics and laser science