Pierre Agostini
Agostini in 2023
Born (1941-07-23) 23 July 1941 (age 82)
Alma materAix-Marseille University (BEd, MAS, PhD)
Known forAbove-threshold ionization
AwardsGay-Lussac–Humboldt Prize (2003)
William F. Meggers Award (2007)
Nobel Prize in Physics (2023)
Scientific career
FieldsAttosecond physics
InstitutionsCEA Saclay
Ohio State University
ThesisAppareillage permettant la réalisation de filtres multidiélectriques UV: Étude des couches Sb2O3 cryolithe (1967)

Pierre Agostini (French pronunciation: [pjɛʁ aɡɔstini]; born 23 July 1941) is a French experimental physicist and Emeritus professor at the Ohio State University, known for his pioneering work in strong-field laser physics and attosecond science.[1] He is especially known for the observation of above-threshold ionization and the invention of the reconstruction of attosecond beating by interference of two-photon transitions (RABBITT) technique[2] for characterization of attosecond light pulses. He was jointly awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics.[3]

Education and career

Pierre Agostini was born in Tunis, in the French protectorate of Tunisia, in 1941.[4] He obtained his baccalauréat at the Prytanée national militaire school in 1959 in La Flèche, France.[5]

Agostini studied physics at Aix-Marseille University, where he subsequently received a B.Ed. degree (licence d'enseignement) in physics in 1961, and a M.A.S. degree (diplôme d'études approfondies) in 1962. In 1968 he completed a doctoral degree there, on multilayer dielectric filters for the ultraviolet, titled Appareillage permettant la réalisation de filtres multidiélectriques UV : Étude des couches Sb2O3.[6][7][8]

After his doctorate, he became a researcher at CEA Saclay in 1969 and stayed there until 2002.[7][8] During this time, Agostini worked in the lab of Gérard Mainfray and Claude Manus, where he researched on multiphoton ionization using the powerful lasers there. They are the first to observe above-threshold ionization in 1979 in xenon gas.[9][10][11]

In 2001, Agostini and his team at CEA Saclay along with Harm Geert Muller at the Dutch Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM), using an advanced laser at the Laboratoire d'Optique Appliquée [fr], managed to create a train of pulses each 250 attoseconds in duration. By recombining the ultrashort ultraviolet pulses with the original infrared light they created an interference effect that allowed him to characterize the length and repetition rate of the pulses.[12][13]

Agostini was a visiting scientist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in the U.S. state of New York between 2002 and 2004, where he worked in Louis F. DiMauro's group.[14] He became professor of physics at the Ohio State University (OSU) in 2005 and ran a laboratory jointly with Louis F. DiMauro who moved a year earlier to OSU.[15] Agostini became Emeritus professor at OSU in 2018.[16]

Honors and awards

Agostini received the Gustave Ribaud prize in 1995 from the French Academy of Sciences.[17] In 2003, he received the Gay-Lussac–Humboldt Prize[18] and the Joop Los fellowship from the Dutch Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM),[7] he also received the William F. Meggers Award in Spectroscopy in 2007 from the Optical Society of America (OSA), and is a Humboldt Fellow. He was elected a Fellow of OSA in 2008 “for leadership in the development of innovative experiments providing major insights into the dynamics of the nonlinear response of atoms and molecules submitted to strong infrared laser pulses.”[7]

In 2023, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics for "for experimental methods that generate attosecond pulses of light for the study of electron dynamics in matter" along with Anne L'Huillier and Ferenc Krausz.[3]


  1. ^ Agostini, Pierre; DiMauro, Louis F (1 June 2004). "The physics of attosecond light pulses". Reports on Progress in Physics. 67 (6): 813–855. Bibcode:2004RPPh...67..813A. doi:10.1088/0034-4885/67/6/R01. ISSN 0034-4885. S2CID 250879086.
  2. ^ Garisto, Daniel. "This Year's Physics Nobel Awards Scientists for Slicing Reality into Attoseconds". Scientific American. Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  3. ^ a b Edwards, Christian; Hunt, Katie; Upright, Ed (3 October 2023). "Nobel Prize in physics won by trio who created rapid flashes of light to 'capture the shortest of moments'". CNN.
  4. ^ "Contributors [Back cover]". IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics. 6 (12). 1970.
  5. ^ "Prix Nobel de physique 2023 : l'un des lauréats, Pierre Agostini, a obtenu son baccalauréat au Prytanée de La Flèche". France 3 Pays de la Loire (in French). 3 October 2023. Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  6. ^ Agostini, Pierre (1967). Appareillage permettant la réalisation de filtres multidiélectriques UV : Étude des couches Sb2O3 cryolithe (PhD). Aix-Marseille University. OCLC 491622236.
  7. ^ a b c d "Pierre Agostini – Professor, Ohio, USA | Optica". www.optica.org. Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  8. ^ a b "Ohio State University, Department of Physics: P. Agostini Biography". dokumen.tips. Retrieved 9 October 2023.
  9. ^ Mainfray, G; Manus, C (1 October 1991). "Multiphoton ionization of atoms". Reports on Progress in Physics. 54 (10): 1333–1372. doi:10.1088/0034-4885/54/10/002. ISSN 0034-4885.
  10. ^ Agostini, P.; Fabre, F.; Mainfray, G.; Petite, G.; Rahman, N. K. (23 April 1979). "Free-Free Transitions Following Six-Photon Ionization of Xenon Atoms". Physical Review Letters. 42 (17): 1127–1130. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.42.1127.
  11. ^ D'Oliveira, Pascal; Carré, Bertrand (2010). "Dossier : Les lasers à l'IRAMIS: Les lasers de puissance à Saclay". IRAMIS (in French). Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  12. ^ "Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L'Huillier win 2023 Nobel Prize for Physics". Physics World. 3 October 2023. Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  13. ^ Paul, P. M.; Toma, E. S.; Breger, P.; Mullot, G.; Augé, F.; Balcou, Ph.; Muller, H. G.; Agostini, P. (2001). "Observation of a Train of Attosecond Pulses from High Harmonic Generation". Science. 292 (5522): 1689–1692. doi:10.1126/science.1059413. ISSN 0036-8075.
  14. ^ "Palm International School of Attosecond". IRAMIS (in French). Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  15. ^ "Pierre Agostini – Emeritus Professor, Ohio, USA | eMedEvents". www.emedevents.com. Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  16. ^ Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland com (3 October 2023). "Ohio State University retired professor wins 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics". cleveland. Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  17. ^ "Prix Gustave Ribaud" (PDF). Académie des Sciences. 2014.
  18. ^ "Liste des lauréats français du prix Gay-Lussac Humboldt" (PDF) (in French).