Federico Capasso, the Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has been awarded the 2018 "Enrico Fermi" Prize of the Italian Physical Society.

Capasso shares the award, named for the one of the most important physicists of the 20th century, with colleagues Lev P. Pitaevskii of the University of Trento in Italy and Erio Tosatti of the International School for Advanced Studies in Italy.

The trio were cited for “for outstanding contributions in understanding the quantum properties of condensed matter.” Capasso was honored for his “seminal contributions to the physics of electronic and optical materials and their applications, ranging from the invention of the quantum cascade laser to the design of novel semiconductor materials, including metasurfaces.”

The prize will be conferred during the Opening Ceremony of the 104th National Congress of the Italian Physical Society that will be held in Arcavacata di Rende in Italy on 17 September 2018.

 “I am both elated and humbled from receiving this prize named after a legendary scientist known for his ability to excel in both theoretical and experimental physics and his wide-ranging contributions to so many areas of Physics,” said Capasso.

In the past, the prize has honored achievements including the detection of gravitational waves, the discovery of the Higgs particle, the first microprocessor and breakthroughs in computational science, among others.

Capasso is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, and he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

His awards include the Balzan Prize (2016),  the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Rumford Prize (2015), the SPIE Gold Medal (2013), the European Physical Society's Prize for Applied Aspects of Quantum Electronics and Optics (2013), the Jan Czochralski Award for lifetime achievements in Materials Science (2011), the Julius Springer Prize in Applied Physics (2010), the Berthold Leibinger Zukunft Prize (2010), the King Faisal Prize (2005), the American Physical Society Arthur Schawlow Prize in Laser Science (2004), the IEEE Edison Medal (2004), the Optical Society Wood Prize (2001), the Rank Prize in Optoelectronics (1998), the Wetherill Medal of the Franklin Institute (1997), the Materials Research Society Medal (1995) and the IEEE Sarnoff Award in Electronics (1991).