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Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize awarded to Adolf Fercher and Christoph Hitzenberger

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(Vienna, 24 February 2017) Adolf Fercher and Christoph Hitzenberger were awarded the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize by the United States National Academy of Engineering (NAE) on 21 February 2017. The two researchers from Vienna played a significant role in the development of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), an examination procedure that is predominantly used in medical imaging.

Adolf Fercher was represented by his daughter at the awards ceremony, which took place in Washington DC. MedUni Vienna Rector Markus Müller and Vice Rector Michaela Fritz also attended on behalf of the university.

Adolf Friedrich Fercher, former Head of the Institute of Medical Physics (1986 to 2008), is a pioneer in the field of ophthalmic laser interferometry and, in 1986, he was the first to measure the human eye using this technique. He is considered to be the spiritual father of the first Low-Coherence Interferometry (LCI) devices used in ophthalmology.

Christoph Hitzenberger, Deputy Head of the Center for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at MedUni Vienna, developed the first heterodyne LCI system for measuring intraocular distances (axial eye length, retinal thickness). Together with Adolf Fercher, he developed the spectral domain LCI technique (1995), which, due to its high degree of measuring sensitivity, forms the basis of modern clinical OCT ophthalmic examination devices.

The other prize winners are James G. Fujimoto, David Huang and Eric A. Swanson.

Über den Russ Prize
Der Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize ist ein von der United States National Academy of Engineering (NAE) im Oktober 1999 etablierter Preis für Ingenieurwesen. Benannt nach Fritz Russ, dem Gründer von Systems Research Laboratories, und seiner Frau Dolores Russ wird dieser Preis von der Stiftung für technologische Entwicklungen verliehen, die „signifikante Auswirkungen auf die Gesellschaft hatten und zur Verbesserung des menschlichen Wohlbefindens beitrugen“. Die NAE verleiht den Preis alle zwei Jahre. Den Gewinnern wird ein Preis in Höhe von 500.000 US-Dollar und eine Goldmedaille verliehen. Zusammen mit dem Gordon Prize und dem Draper Prize wird der Russ Prize auch der „Nobelpreis für Ingenieurswissenschaften“ genannt.