Francesca Ferlaino
Research Director, Professor, Physicist
Experimental and theoretical physics
Quantum simulation
University of Innsbruck
Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information
Known for
First Bose-Einstein condensation of Erbium
First dipolar quantum mixture of Erbium and Dysprosium
Advocacy for women in physics
Research page
Dipolar Quantum Gases
Erwin Schrödinger-Preis, 2017
Grete-Rehor-Staatspreis, 2023

Francesca Ferlaino (she/her) is born on 23th December 1977 in Napoli, Italy. There, she studied physics at the University of Federico II and received her master degree in 2000 for a theoretical work on Bose-Einstein condensates, jointly conducted in Naples and at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste.

As PhD student, she then re-directed her research interest towards experimental physics and started her PhD  study at the University of Florence and at the European Laboratory for Non-linear Spectroscopy (LENS) in Florence under the supervision of Prof. M. Inguscio. At LENS, Francesca was involved in the first realization of quantum gases mixture of different alkali atomic species. After  receiving her PhD degree in 2004, Francesca enjoyed to work at LENS for few years more as research associate.

In 2007, she moved to Austria first as a visiting scientist in the group of Prof. Grimm, then as postdoctoral Lise-Meitner fellow focusing on few-body and Efimov physics, and finally she received a full professorship in 2014. At the beginning, her stay in Innsbruck was just planned for 3 months. The 3 months became 6. The 6 months 1 year. 1 year easily doubled to 2 years, and the 2 years doubled again, and again :). In 2009, thanks to a START-Prize (FWF) and an ERC Starting Grant, Francesca could establish her independent research group. She funded the Dipolar Quantum Gas Group and started the so-called “ERBIUM” experiment, realizing the world-first  Bose-Einstein condensate of Er in 2012.

Since 2014, Francesca is Full Professor at the University of Innsbruck and Scientific Director at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) of the Austrian Academy of Science (ÖAW). During the last years, she was awardee of numerous prestigious prizes and distinctions, including the Feltrinelli prize, the Alexander-von-Humboldt Professorship, the Science Prize of the City of Innsbruck, the Ignaz L. Lieben Prize, and the Fritz-Kohlrausch Prize for experimental physics. In addition, she received the START Prize, one ERC-Starting, one ERC-Consolidator grant and one one ERC-Advanced grant.