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How we hired 2023 Nobel laureate Anne L’Huillier – and why we knew she was destined for greatness

L’Huillier was busy teaching when she her Nobel prize was awarded.



L'Huillier and her husband at the Nobel prize celebration in Lund. Sune Svanberg, CC BY-SA

Most of the atomic physics division at Lund University were assembled in a spacious room with a big screen to await the announcement of the 2023 Nobel laureates in physics from the Royal Academy of Sciences on October 3. Of course, the Nobel secrecy is perfect, but there was still some expectation in the air.

When the screen with the laureates appeared, and with our colleague Anne L'Huillier´s face included, the roar almost lifted the roof – the big lasers in the basement must have been brought out of alignment!

L'Huillier, however, was nowhere to be seen – she had been giving a lecture to students.

New laser facility

About 30 years ago, the atomic physics group in Lund was considering a new research orientation. We ultimately selected the field of high-power laser-matter interaction. For this purpose, we managed to acquire a quite unique laser in 1992 (called a terawatt laser), firing 10 ultrashort pulses per second.

This was possible thanks to good academic contacts with leading laser groups in the US and Europe, as well as with industrial partners. The generous support by the Wallenberg Foundation (a key player in Swedish research financing) secured the realisation of arguably the most attractive system at the time for performing advanced research in a novel field of atomic physics.

At this point, L'Huillier was an up and coming researcher in France. Only years earlier, in 1987, had she discovered that many different overtones of light arise when you transmit infrared laser light through a noble gas – as a result of the gas and laser interacting.

With our new facility, we were able to attract L´Huillier to come to Lund with her own dedicated experimental set-up. This came quite naturally since we had, as project preparation, also visited the CEA Saclay Center where she was employed. I also invited her to be one of the key speakers at the inauguration of our new facility in Lund.

When on site for the experiments, it immediately became clear to us that L'Huillier was an extremely talented physicist, both regarding experiments and theory, with great promise for the future. We published our first joint paper in 1993.

L'Huillier felt good about Lund and, for many different reasons, decided to stay on. At first, she was employed on a lectureship and later on a dedicated professorship, which we got funded. This was a strike of luck for Lund – L'Huillier could easily have obtained prestigious positions elsewhere.

L'Huillier. Sune Svanberg, CC BY-SA

She was also very dedicated to learning Swedish. That says a lot. In a small country like Sweden, the natural language in an international endeavour like science is English, but L'Huillier became absolutely fluent in our “exotic” language.

At an early stage, I transferred the leadership of the high-power Laser laboratory to L´Huillier and Claes-Göran Wahlström. With the help of many talented collaborators, the field has developed tremendously in Lund, making it one of the leading hubs in this fascinating research field.

L´Huillier energetically pursued her work with high harmonics and the associated formation of attosecond laser pulses. These were the areas for which she ultimately won the Nobel prize – work that has helped scientists gain a window into the high-speed world of electrons.

In particular, she could show that processes earlier considered to occur instantaneously in fact come about with an extremely short delay.

Modest and rigorous

L´Huillier is absolutely brilliant. Despite that, she has always had quite a low-key personality. She cares a lot for her collaborators and students. It is perhaps her modesty and lack of interest in fame and glamour that makes her such a great physicist. She doesn’t cut corners and has a deep, genuine interest in science.

She has been, and is, a true role model for young scientists – female and male alike – showing how excellent research can be combined with enthusiastic teaching.

L´Huillier eventually talked to the Royal Academy in Stockholm during a scheduled break in her class. She later joined our celebration party, beaming and extremely happy. Clearly this was the ultimate achievement, the diamond among the many other distinctions she had already received.

The celebrations went on all afternoon, together with university leadership and students alike. L´Huillier was in an endless row of interviews. Receiving the highest scientific award will certainly change her life, but I am sure that she will always remain the same generous and modest person that we all came to know her as.

Our warmest congratulations to our “own” Nobel laureate!

Sune Svanberg is an emeritus professor at Lund University, who received the initial funding for the build up of the Lund High Power Laser Facility.

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Apple Shares Slide After Research Shows iPhone Launch In China Disappoints 

Apple Shares Slide After Research Shows iPhone Launch In China Disappoints 

Apple shares fell in premarketing trading in New York following…



Apple Shares Slide After Research Shows iPhone Launch In China Disappoints 

Apple shares fell in premarketing trading in New York following research indicating that iPhone 15 sales in China lagged behind its 2022 predecessor. 

Bloomberg cited a new report from market tracker Counterpoint Research that showed iPhone 15 sales were down 3.5% compared with iPhone 14 over the first 17 days after launch.

Counterpoint said the new iPhone's sales slump in China was due to a weakening economy. It noted that in the US, iPhone 15 sales were likely to see double-digit growth over the first nine days of sales in 2022 for the iPhone 14. 

However, the new iPhone's debut in China occurred weeks after Huawei Technologies launched the Mate 60 Pro, which uses a cutting-edge processor made in China and is seen as a victory for Chinese tech despite US sanctions on chips. Also, the Chinese government broadened a ban on iPhones at government agencies and state companies. 

"The US is hot right now with back-to-back stellar weekends for the new iPhone," said Counterpoint research director Jeff Fieldhack.

Fieldhack said, "It's a positive sign from the biggest iPhone market in the world. So definitely takes some of the sting off the China numbers." 

In a separate report, Jefferies analysts led by Edison Lee estimates iPhone 15 sales in China are down as much as double-digit percentage compared with iPhone 14. He explained this has to do with Huawei outselling Apple. 

"The trend suggests iPhone would lose to Huawei in 2024," Lee said, adding, "We believe weak demand in China would eventually lead to lower-than-expected global shipments of iPhone."

Apple shares fell as much as 1.7% in premarket trading due to Counterpoint Research's new note.

Sliding iPhone sales in China can be attributed to a sluggish economic recovery and the preference of consumers in the world's second-largest economy to ditch Apple for domestic brands. 

Remember, China accounts for nearly 20% of Apple's revenue.

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/16/2023 - 07:20

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Capital Markets are Calm though Anxiety Continues to Run High

Overview: The risk that the war in Israel spreads
remains palatable, and several observers have warned of the greatest risks of a
world war in a generation….



Overview: The risk that the war in Israel spreads remains palatable, and several observers have warned of the greatest risks of a world war in a generation. Still, the capital markets remain relatively calm. The US dollar is softer after closing last week firmly. The only G10 currency unable to post corrective upticks today is the Swiss franc. Among emerging market currencies, the Polish zloty has been boosted by the pro-EU election results, and the Mexican peso lead the complex. Gold, which rallied 3.4% at the end of last week, is seeing its gains pared by nearly 0.9% today and the yellow metal is straddling the $1916 area. December WTI rallied 5.5% before the weekend to settle at $86.35. It saw a little follow-through buying today before slipping back $85.65 today. It is near $86.20 in the European morning.

Equities are trading heavily. Weak Japanese industrial production data took local indices down by 1.5%-2.0%. China's CSI 300 was off nearly 1%, and nearly all the bourses in the region fell. Last week, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index snapped a three-week slide of more than 4% and closed 1.5% higher. Europe's Stoxx 600 is marginally lower after losing nearly 1% before the weekend. It too snapped a three-week down draft last week (~-3.7%) and closed up almost 1%. US index futures are firm. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ closed lower last week, while the Dow Industrials eked out a small gain. Bond markets are under pressure. Benchmark 10-year yields in Europe are up 3-6 bp and the 10-year US Treasury yield is up seven basis points to 4.68%. The yield had fallen 19 bp net-net last week.

Asia Pacific

There are three developments in China to note. First, the PBOC kept the benchmark one-year Medium-Term Lending Facility rate unchanged at 2.50%. Banks will set the loan prime rates at the end of the week and have not fully passed through the last hike in the MLF. The PBOC stepped up its liquidity provision at the facility to CNY789 bln from CNY591 bln last month. Second, China's sovereign wealth fund bought bank shares last week. Third, mainland brokers were discouraged from opening new offshore accounts for domestic investors. Third, a key standing committee of the National People's Congress will meet October 2-24. Reportedly under consideration are a new equity stabilization fund (CNY1 trillion, or ~$137 bln) that has been discussed for some time, and a proposal to boost local government borrowing ahead of the new quotas typically issued in January-February.

Japan showed weaker August industrial output than preliminary estimate. Rather than flat month-over-month, Japanese industrial production fell by 0.7%, which dragged the year-over-year rate down to -4.4% (not -3.8%) after a -2.3% pace in July. The extraordinary Diet session begins on October 20 and two byelections will be held on October 22. The chief purpose is to agree to a new supplemental budget. There are strains in the governing coalition and the recent cabinet reshuffle did little to bolster public opinion in the government. The chances of a snap-election this year appear to be fading. Meanwhile, before the weekend, Finance Minister Suzuki told reporters what told to the G20, namely that "excessive moves are undesirable" and that there will be times that an "appropriate response" is required in the foreign exchange market. Still one-week implied volatility finished last week near 6.6%, the lowest since February 2022. Three-month implied volatility reached nearly 8.8% at the end of last week, the lowest since the year's low was set slightly lower in mid-June. In terms of a one-way market, which may also be objectionable, note that coming into today the yen has weakened in six of the past ten trading sessions.

As widely expected, the center-right won the New Zealand election and the National Party's leader Luxon will be the new prime minister, ending six years of Labour Party governance. The National Party garners 39% of the vote, meaning it will have to negotiate with the libertarian ACT (9% of the vote) and the New Zealand First (6.5%). The National Party and ACT may have enough to form a parliamentary majority, but it is vulnerable to special and overseas votes that will not be published until November 3. Labour's share of the vote was nearly halved to 27% from 50% in the last election three years ago. Its alliance partner, the Green Party, took key districts from Labour as it received almost 11% of the vote from a little less than 8% in 2020. Separately, Australian's rejected the government-backed bid to boost the representation of the Indigenous Australians, including the creation of an advisory committee to parliament. The be approved the referendum needed a "double majority"--a majority of states and voters. It secured neither.

The dollar was confined to a narrow range of less than 40 pips against the yen ahead of the weekend. It settled near the session low of about JPY149.45. It slipped to almost JPY149.30 today. Last week's low was slightly below JPY148.20. There are options for around $1.10 bln at JPY148.00 that expire tomorrow. There no longer appears to be much near-term optionality around JPY150. The Australian dollar posted its lowest settlement of the year at the end of last week (~$0.6295). It has recovered slightly through $0.6330 today to approach the pre-weekend higher $0.6335. Last week's high was closer to $0.6445. The New Zealand dollar is also trading firmer but is also holding below the high from the end of last week (~$0.5935). For the fourth consecutive session, the greenback has risen above the previous session high against the Chinese yuan. Today's high near CNY7.3130 is the best since late September, before the early October extended holiday. The PBOC set the dollar's reference rate at CNY7.1798, above the previous day's for the first time in weeks. The average in Bloomberg's survey was for CNY7.3095.


In Poland, the Law and Justice Party (PiS) received the most votes but was shy of a majority and this gives Tusk's Civic Coalition an opportunity to build a wider coalition. This will likely lead to the reforms that will free up billions of euros in Recovery Funds for Poland. The Polish zloty was trending higher against the euro over the last couple of weeks. The euro has fallen by about 2.3% since September 28 and is off another 1% in the European morning, have fallen by nearly 2% in the immediate reaction to the election news.

The eurozone's trade balance has not returned to levels seen prior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine or pre-Covid levels, but it is healing. The seasonally adjusted August trade surplus was 11.9 bln euros. That brings the average in the first eight months to a surplus 1.365 bln euros. The average in the Jan-Aug 2022 period was a deficit of 30 bln euros. In the first eight months of 2019, the eurozone's average monthly seasonally adjusted trade surplus was 16.23 bln euros.

The US and EU meet at the end of the week. Three topics seem to dominate: Russia/Ukraine, Middle East, and China. For discussion are the price caps on Russian oil and the use of the profits from Russia's frozen assets to be turned over to Ukraine, timing, and mechanisms still to be worked out. This is a compromise solution between those who want to use all the confiscated assets to rebuild Ukraine and those who are wary of setting a dangerous precedent. US Treasury Secretary Yellen appears to have endorsed "repurposing" the profits and expressed concern that the oil price cap is not effective. Second, there is a real danger that the war in Israel expands. The US has sent two carrier groups into the region to deter Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah. At the same time, the US has warned that Azerbaijan and Armenian hostilities are poised to escalate. Third, the US and EU may try to coordinate positions on China, and in particular the excess capacity (and carbon emissions) in steel and aluminum. This may help resolve the dispute since 2018 between the US and EU over tariffs. There may also be an attempt to strike a deal on rare earths ("critical minerals") to allow EU to qualify for some assistance under the so-called Inflation Reduction Act.

After posting an outside down day after the US CPI, the euro headed further south ahead of the weekend to slip a little through $1.05, though managed to close back above it. It has risen to almost $1.0545 today. Resistance is seen in the $1.0560-70 area. A break of $1.0490 signals a retest of the year's low set earlier this month slightly below $1.0450. Sterling was sold to new lows for the week last Friday a little below $1.2125. It enjoys a firmer bias today and reached almost $1.2180. Nearby resistance is seen in the $1.2200-15 area. There may be some support near $1.2100 but October 3 low was closer to $1.2035. 


On top of the firmer than expected US PPI and CPI last week, the University of Michigan reported a jump in inflation expectations at the end of last week. Its preliminary results for October showed the one-year inflation expectation jumped to 3.8%, a five-month high, from 3.2% in September. The 5–10-year inflation expectation rose to 3.0% from 2.8% in September. It stuck at 3% in the previous three months. Sentiment itself fell to 63.0 from 68.1. It is the third consecutive decline and the largest fall since June 2022. Still, expectations for the last two FOMC meetings of the year are at a low ebb: less than 8% for November, down from around 30% after the employment report on October 6. The odds of hike before the end of the year are near 33%. It was slightly below 50% on October 13. 

On today's economic agenda, the US sees the NY State manufacturing survey, where the diffusion index is expected to retreat into negative territory, and the September budget statement. If the September deficit is about $150 bln, that would bring the 12-month shortfall to around $1.68 trillion. In the 12-months through September 2022, the deficit was closer to $1.38 trillion. It puts the shortfall near 5.9% of GDP. It was 4.7% in 2019. US continues to sell bills and will sell $143 bln today of 3- and 6-month bills followed by $75 mln cash management bill tomorrow and 4- and 8-week bills on Thursday. Coupon offerings are limited this week to $13 bln of the 20-year bond that is re-opened, and $22 bln in five-year TIPS. However, it is another busy week for Fed speakers. No fewer than 13 different officials speak with Chair Powell speech at the Economic Club of New York on Thursday being the highlight.

Canada has a busy data week as well. Today's wholesale and manufacturing sales are more for economists that the market. But the market will likely take notice of the Bank of Canada's survey of the business outlook. The quarterly reading has declined for the past six consecutive quarters and fell below zero in Q1 23. Still, tomorrow's CPI report is more important for policy expectations. The market sees a better chance that the Bank of Canada hikes when it meets on October 25 than the Fed hikes on November 1. The swaps market is discounting about a 38% chance of a hike this month and slightly more than a 60% chance of a move before the end of the year.

After jumping up to CAD1.3700 after the US CPI report, the greenback stalled and pulled back to almost CAD1.3635 at the end of last week before settling at CAD1.3660. The US dollar did trade slightly below the pre-weekend low and is trading quietly in the European morning below CAD1.3650. Initial support may be near CAD1.3620. There are options for about $695 mln at CAD1.37 that expire today and $640 mln at CAD1.36 that expire on Wednesday. The greenback posted an outside up day against the Mexican peso last Thursday and follow-through buying lifted it to almost MXN18.11 before the weekend, a three-day high. The US dollar is better offered today, falling to about MXN17.93. A break of MXN17.75-77 may be needed to confirm a nearby top is in place. 


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US Stocks Still Lead Global Assets In 2023

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a new risk factor for financial markets, but for now there’s no contest between US shares and other asset classes…



The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a new risk factor for financial markets, but for now there’s no contest between US shares and other asset classes as the year moves into its final stretch, based on a set of ETFs through Friday’s close (Oct. 13).

Vanguard Total US Stock Market Index Fund (VTI) is up 13.0% year to date. Although that’s well below the 20% peak for the ETF reached in the summer, this year’s performance premium for American shares remains hefty vs. the rest of the major asset classes. The second-best performer in 2023: developed-markets stocks ex-US (VEA) with a relatively modest 5.2% year to date return.

Roughly half of markets are posting losses so far in 2023. Property shares in the US and in foreign markets are currently suffering the steepest declines: -5.6% and -7.5%, respectively.

The Global Market Index (GMI) is outperforming most asset classes this year, with the exception of US stocks. GMI is an unmanaged benchmark holds all the major asset classes (except cash) in market-value weights via ETFs and represents a competitive measure for multi-asset-class-portfolio strategies. 

Note, too, that GMI’s current drawdown is relatively light vs. its underlying component markets. Only US stocks (VTI) and US junk bonds (JNK) are posting softer peak-to-trough declines than GMI’s -12.3% drawdown.

The question of how risk assets fare in the near term is expected to be closely linked to the path ahead for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We’re looking at the potential economic implications of the hostilities,” says US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. “It’s too early to speculate on whether or not there will be significant consequences. I think importantly it depends on whether the hostilities extend beyond Israel and Gaza, and that’s certainly an outcome we would like to avoid.”

Economists are upbeat about the prospects for the US economy in the near term, according to a new survey by The Wall Street Journal. A small minority (54%) think the country will avoid a downturn, up from 48% in July.

The key question is whether Israel’s military operation, which appears set to invade Gaza, will trigger a wider conflict in the Middle East?

“I have no clue whether markets will remain relatively well behaved,” says Erik Nielsen, group chief economics adviser at UniCredit. “It almost certainly depends on whether this latest conflict remains localized or whether it escalates into a broader Middle Eastern war.”

Nomura European economist George Moran adds: “If the Ukraine war taught us anything, it’s not to underestimate the effect of geopolitics.”

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