25th Congress of the International Commission for Optics (ICO) • 16th International Conference on Optics Within Life Sciences (OWLS)
Karsten Danzmann

Prof. Dr. Karsten DanzmannVita
Director, Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) and Director, Institute for Gravitational Physics, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany

Gravitational Wave Astronomy: Listening to the sounds of the dark universe!

For thousands of years we have been looking at the universe with our eyes. But most of the universe is dark and will never be observable with electromagnetic waves. Since September 14th , 2015, everything is different:

Gravitational waves were discovered! We have obtained a new sense and finally we can listen to the universe. The first sounds that we heard were from unexpectedly heavy Black Holes. By now, gravitational wave astronomy has become routine. Laser interferometers on the earth are operating at the quantum limit and soon we will be able to listen to low frequencies with detectors in space. With gravitational wave detectors we are listening to the dark side of the universe. And some day we will hear the Big Bang.



Stefan Hell

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Stefan W. HellVita
Director, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, and Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg, Germany
Professor at University of Göttingen and Heidelberg University

Optical microscopy: the resolution revolution

Throughout the 20th century it was widely accepted that a light microscope relying on conventional optical lenses cannot tell apart details that are much finer than about half the wavelength of light, or 200-400 nanometers, due to diffraction. However, in the 1990s, the viability to overcome the diffraction barrier was realized and microscopy concepts defined that can resolve fluorescent features down to molecular dimensions. In this short talk, I will discuss the simple yet powerful principles that allow neutralizing the limiting role of diffraction1,2. In a nutshell, feature molecules residing closer than the diffraction barrier are transferred to different (quantum) states, usually a bright fluorescent state and a dark state, so that they become discernible for a brief period of detection. Thus, the resolution-limiting role of diffraction is overcome, and the interior of transparent samples, such as living cells and tissues, can be imaged at the nanoscale.

1. Hell, S.W. Far-Field Optical Nanoscopy. Science 316, 1153-1158 (2007).
2. Hell, S.W. Microscopy and its focal switch. Nature Methods 6, 24-32 (2009).


Gerard Mourou

Prof. Dr. Gérard MourouVita
Professor at the École Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France and A. D. Moore Distinguished University Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan, USA

Passion Extreme Light and Applications to the Greatest Benefit of Human Kind

Extreme-light laser is a universal source providing a vast range of high energy radiations and particles along with the highest field, highest pressure, temperature and acceleration. It offers the possibility to shed light onsome ofthe remaining unanswered questions in fundamental physics like the genesis of cosmic rays with energies in excess of 1020eV or the loss of information in black-holes. Using wake-field acceleration some of these fundamental questions could be studied in the laboratory. In additionextreme-light makes possible the study of the structure of vacuum and particle production in "empty" spacewhichis one of the field’s ultimate goal, reaching into the fundamental QED and possibly QCD regimes.

Looking beyondtoday’sintensity horizon, wewillintroducea new conceptthatcould make possible the generation of attosecond-zeptosecond high energy coherent pulse, de facto in x-ray domain, openingat the Schwinger level, thezettawatt, and PeVregime; the next chapter of laser-matter interaction.



Margaret Murnane

Prof. Dr. Margaret MurnaneVita
Director, JILA, Distinguished Professor of Physics at the University of Colorado, and Fellow of NIST, Boulder, USA

Harnessing Quantum Light Science for Applications in Materials Science



Didier Queloz

Prof. Dr. Didier QuelozVita
Professor at the University of Cambridge, UK and Professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland

The Exoplanet Revolution

Over the past 25 years spectacular, ever growing, discoveries of exoplanet systems have modified our perspective on planet formation as a whole and more specifically our place in the Universe. I will introduce the audience with the exoplanet diversity and describe what we have learnt on their structure and formation mechanisms. Based on recent works about origin of life on Earth, I'll present new perceptive about minimum conditions required to allow for the formation of life chemical building blocks. I will describe a possible pathway to detect Earth like systems amenable for future work about origins of life.



Important Dates

13 - 17 September 2021
25th Congress of the International Commission for Optics (ICO)
16th International Conference and 30 Years Anniversary of the International Society on Optics Within Life Sciences (OWLS)

Important Information

A Special Issue of the Journal of the European Optical Society – Rapid Publications (JEOS:RP) with papers from the congress ICO-25-OWLS-16-Dresden-Germany-2021 is planned. The general chair of the congress, Prof Juergen Czarske is associate editor of the JEOS:RP: jeos.springeropen.com


TU Dresden
01062 Dresden, Germany