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Roberto Morandotti wins Acfas Urgel-Archambault award

November 16, 2023

Update : November 17, 2023

Acfas is highlighting Professor Morandotti’s outstanding work by awarding him a prize that underlines the excellence and influence of Québec scientific research.

Roberto Morandotti. Credit: Josée Lecompte

Recipient of last year’s Prix Marie-Victorin and of an impressive number of other awards over the course of his career, Roberto Morandotti‘s exceptional career is once again in the spotlight. Professor at INRS’s Centre Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications since 2003, he is this year’s recipient of the Acfas Urgel-Archambault award for outstanding scientists.

Created in 1953 and named in honor of the founder of Polytechnique Montréal, the Prix Acfas Urgel-Archambault is awarded annually to a researcher in recognition of the excellence and influence of his or her work in the physical, mathematical, computer or engineering sciences. It is cosponsored by the ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation et de l’Énergie du Québec.

“This recognition and the others received from Québec, where I have now lived for 20 years, make me particularly happy”, confides the scientist who ranks among the top 10 Italian scientists in applied physics and engineering on the international scene.

A dynamic force to be reckoned with

Roberto Morandotti is one of the world’s leading experts in fundamental physics, and more specifically in nonlinear and quantum optics, with an interest in free-space and integrated photonic systems. His impressively dynamic research has applications in telecommunications, spectroscopy (optical and THz), biomedicine, artificial intelligence and quantum computing. His work is paving the way for the Internet of the future, capable of colossal tasks such as the ability to create a truly immersive experience.

Signs abound of Roberto Morandotti’s major influence in his field of expertisem we can mention the 330 articles he has published to date in prestigious journals such as Science, Nature and their journal series, the 47,451 peer-reviewed citations or his 238 national and international conference proceedings. He also has to his name nine book chapters, two co-edited books, 23 approved and 4 pending patent applications.

“I’m impressed by the possibility to conduct research at INRS and in Québec that reaches the level of competitiveness of much better-known and better-funded academic institutions. Thanks to the excellence of our teams, we have nothing to envy other laboratories on the planet.”

Roberto Morandotti, INRS Professor and Scientific head of the Ultrahigh Speed Light Manipulation Laboratory

Professor Morandotti also holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Intelligent Photonics. Thanks to his sustained efforts, this major infrastructure, which he developed at INRS, boasts a funding record six times higher than the average.

An astonishing innovator

Roberto Morandotti’s work stands out for its originality, which is admired by his peers. His approach is one of a visionary and explorer. He never hesitates to go off the beaten path, often concepts from a new angle. For example, he has transposed the frequency comb concept from large, expensive lasers to the field of minaturized integrated photonics. This breakthrough pushes the boundaries of his discipline, not only in terms of the range of possible applications, but also in terms of its accessibility.

INRS benefits from Roberto Morandotti’s groundbreaking achievements and surprising discoveries. Through them, our educational establishment is positioning itself as a magnet for knowledge in the field of quantum physics, with concrete benefits for Québec, Canada and the society at large.

Roberto Morandotti’s list of honors is long. Recognized as a Fellow by several scholarly societies, his distinctions include the prestigious E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship in 2011, the NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation in 2019 for outstanding collaboration with industry, and the NSERC Brockhouse Award for Multidisciplinary Research in 2020. He is also the 2022 recipient of one of the Québec government’s highest distinctions in science, the Prix du Québec Marie-Victorin.

“The influence of Professor Morandotti’s work, underlined by this prestigious award, confirms his role as a pioneer in the search for solutions to emerging societal issues, such as those related to security in telecommunications, remote biomedicine and the ethics surrounding artificial intelligence. On behalf of the INRS community, I would like to offer him our sincere congratulations.”

Luc-Alain Giraldeau, Chief Executive Officer, INRS

A passion for mentoring

Beyond his success as a researcher, Roberto Morandotti considers his mentoring mission to be the most important among his tasks. The effects of his involvement in this capacity are impressive. Of the 190 students and post-doctoral fellows he has trained over the past 20 years, more than 24 hold top-level positions in leading institutions around the world. In addition, many have been awarded prestigious scholarships and prizes. “I’m very grateful to have been able to welcome some of the most talented young scientists on the planet to INRS,” he rejoices.

Members of this new generation benefit from Professor Morandotti’s training skills during and after their time in his laboratory, as he continues to nurture their talents. It’s not surprising that he was named Outstanding Mentor by the Canadian Association of Graduate Students in 2018.

“Roberto Morandotti is a world-renowned professor who has revolutionized the field of nonlinear and quantum optics, as well as its technological applications. The originality of his approach and his creativity make him an inspiring mentor for the next generation at INRS. We are proud to count him among our faculty members.

François Légaré, Director of the Centre Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications, INRS

Dedicated and constantly on the lookout for the well-being of others, Professor Morandotti’s vision is one of equity and inclusion. This is reflected in the diversity of genders and backgrounds of the people around him.

Finally, it is a great honor for Roberto Morandotti to promote science and its advancement to the younger generation.

“In these troubled times, when the truth is sometimes challenged, science has a key role to play in combating inequality and promoting progress. As scientists, it’s our duty to tackle major social issues with rigor, looking for innovative solutions. And to be able to do so with young scientists who represent the future of Québec, Canada and the world, is a real privilege indeed,” concludes Morandotti.