Alfred Kastler (May 3, 1902 - January 7, 1984) is a French (German-born) physicist, born in Guebwiller, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1966.
Kastler went to the Lycée Bartholdi in Colmar, Alsace, and entered at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris in 1921. After his studies, in 1926 he first begun teaching physics in Lycée of Mulhouse, and then taught at the university of Bordeaux, where he became a university professor until 1941. Georges Bruhat asked him to come back at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, where he finally obtained a chair in 1952.
In link with Jean Brossel, he searched on quantum mechanics, interaction between light and atoms, spectroscopy. Kastler, working on combination of optical resonance and magnetic resonance, used the technique of "optical pumping". Those works led to the completion of the theory of lasers and masers.
He won the Nobel Prize in 1966 "for the discovery and development of optical methods for studying Hertzian resonances in atoms".
He was president of the board of the Institut d'optique théorique et appliquée.
Professor Kastler spent most of his research career at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris where he started after the war with his student, Jean Brossel a small research group on spectroscopy.
Over the forty years that followed, this group has trained many of young physicists and had a significant impact on the development of the science of Atomic Physics in France. The Laboratoire de Spectroscopie hertzienne has then been renamed Laboratoire Kastler-Brossel in 1994.
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