Palacký University Olomouc has awarded the prestigious František Palacký Prize to Prof Jan Peřina for his long-term scientific work in the field of quantum, statistical, and nonlinear optics. He received the award from UP Rector Martin Procházka during a ceremonial meeting of the scholarly boards and academic senates of Palacký University in the Archbishop’s Palace in Olomouc.
“I appreciate this award very much, more than any other award I have received. František Palacký has been a huge historical figure for me, ever since I was young. I’ve read his five-volume History of the Czech Nation in Bohemia and Moravia several times. It was always a gripping and enlightening read. My only regret was that the history ended in 1526,” said Peřina.
Prof Jan Peřina gained international fame for his scientific achievements in quantum, statistical, and non-linear optics and in the theory of the coherence of light. He also made a significant contribution to the discovery of the properties of non-classical light. He was a visiting professor at the Wrocław University of Science and Technology and at Friedrich Schiller University Jena. He has also been a visiting scholar at Columbia University and a visiting professor at the Sapienza University of Rome, the Universities of Innsbruck and Graz, and the Atominstitute in Vienna.
Prof Peřina has built an internationally renowned scientific centre in Olomouc. During his lifetime, he led many scientific projects, has been and remains a member of Czech and foreign scientific societies, and served on the editorial boards of many international scientific journals. During his career, he has supervised dozens of graduate and doctoral students. Many of them are currently professors themselves, working in the Czech Republic as well as abroad.
“It is an indisputable fact that Prof Peřina’s extensive scientific knowledge enables departments in Olomouc and abroad to successfully investigate and develop issues related to quantum communication, manipulation of light beams at the level of single photons, and processing of quantum states,” said Jan Hlaváč, Vice-Dean of the UP Faculty of Science, who introduced the laureate of the prestigious award.
After finishing his studies, Prof Peřina has worked in Olomouc as a scientific researcher at the Laboratory of Optics at the UP Faculty of Science, then (since 1984) at the UP Joint Laboratory of Optics and the Institute of Physics of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. In 1990 he was briefly the head of the Joint Laboratory of Optics, in 1990–1994 he was the head of the Department of Optics at the UP Faculty of Science. From 1990 to the present, he has been Professor of Optics at the UP Department of Optics as well as at the Joint Laboratory of Optics at the UP Faculty of Science and the Institute of Physics of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences.
For his scientific work and merits for the establishment of the internationally recognised optics centre in Olomouc, Jan Peřina has been awarded, among others, the I.I. Rabi Award at Columbia University NY; the Medal of the Union of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists; the Prize of the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports; the Czech presidential Medal for Merit (First Grade); the Honorary Medal of Dionýz Ilkovič by the Slovak Academy of Sciences; the Galileo Galilei Award by the International Commission for Optics; and the Neuron Prize for contribution to world science in physics. He also served as Vice-President of the International Commission for Optics.
The František Palacký Prize recognises outstanding results of creative activity in the fields of science and culture that contribute to the prestige of the Czech Republic and Palacký University Olomouc. It was established on the occasion of the bicentenary of František Palacký’s birth on 14 June 1998. It is awarded on behalf of Palacký University, usually once every two years, by the UP Rector. The list of previous laureates is here.