Universität Ulm

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Video conference

The interview begins with Schleich recounting his role in the foundation of the Institute of Quantum Technologies at DLR, the German Aerospace Center, in an effort to study Bose-Einstein condensation in microgravity environments. He also discusses his work at the University of Ulm and the Texas A&M University’s Hagler Institute for Advanced Study, as well as the interplay between theory and experiment in his field of quantum optics. The interview then shifts to Schleich’s biography, including his education in physics at the University of Munich, work as a doctoral student with Herbert Walther and Marlan Scully, participation in the summer school at Les Houches, winning the Max Planck Society’s Otto Hahn Prize, and postdoctoral work with John Wheeler. He discusses the role of Walther in establishing quantum optics in Germany and contrasts the thinking styles of Scully and Wheeler. Schleich recounts securing a chair professorship at the University of Ulm in 1991 and how winning the prestigious Leibniz Prize helped him to establish himself and support his students. He also discusses his work on quantum mechanics and analytic number theory with Helmut Maier, the value for quantum optics of experiments that manipulate single atoms, phase space as a key theme running throughout his work, and his involvement with a project to build a quantum computer in Germany.