Paul Corkum

Paul Corkum

  • Paul Corkum receives Royal Medal from Prince Andrew

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Paul Corkum is a professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, and a director at the National Research Council of Canada, He is the director of the Joint Attosecond Science Laboratory between NRC and the University of Ottawa.

Paul Corkum (OC, FRS, FRSC) graduated from Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, in 1972 with a Ph. D. in theoretical physics.  In 1973 he joined the staff of the National Research Council of Canada where he built one of the world’s most famous groups working on the interaction of very short light pulses with matter.  Corkum is best known for introducing many of the concepts of how intense light pulses interact with atoms, molecules and solids, and then confirming the concepts experimentally.  He was the first to show how to make and measure an attosecond pulse and how this new technology could be used to image atomic-scale structure.

Corkum holds a Canada Research Chair at the University of Ottawa and directs the Joint NRC/University of Ottawa Attosecond Science Laboratory.  He is a member of the Royal Societies of London and of Canada and also a foreign member of the US National Academy of Science, the Austrian Academy of Science, and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Distinctions and Awards

Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Basic Science, BBVA Foundation 2023
Wolf Prize in Physics, 2022
Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics, 2019
Isaac Newton Medal and Prize, Institute of Physics, 2019
SPIE Gold Medal, 2018
Schneider Medal, National Research Council Canada, 2017
Royal Medal, Royal Society, 2017
Foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 2016
M.V. Lomonosov Gold Medal, Russian Academy of Sciences, 2015
Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate, 2015
Frederic Ives Medal, OSA, 2014
Order of Ontario, 2013
Royal Photographic Society Progress Medal, 2013
Harvey Prize, The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, 2013
King Faisal International Prize for Science (Physics), 2013
Foreign member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2012
Diamond Jubilee Medal, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2012
Fellow of Optical Society of America, 2010
Zewail Award, the American Chemical Society, 2010
Gerhard Herzberg Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, NSERC, 2009
Foreign member of US Academy of Sciences, 2009
Premier’s Discovery Award, Ontario, 2009
Officer of the Order of Canada, 2007
Fellow of the American Physical Society, 2007
John C. Polanyi Award, NSERC, 2007
The Killam Prize for Physical Sciences, Canada Council of the Arts, 2006
Arthur L. Schawlow Award for Laser Science, American Physical Society, 2006
Fellow of the Royal Society (of London), 2005
Charles Townes Award, Optical Society of America, 2005
Quantum Electronics Award, IEEE, 2005
Golden Jubilee Medal, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2003
Henry Marshall Tory Medal, the Royal Society of Canada, 2003
LEOS Distinguished Lecturer Award, IEEE, 2001 and 2002
Fellow of the Institute of Physics, 2002
Einstein Award, the Society for Optical and Quantum Electronics, 1999
Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, 1996
Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Physics, Canadian Association of Physicists, 1996


Attosecond Science at uOttawa and NRC