Rudolf Grimm obtained his diploma degree in 1986 at the University of Hannover, Germany, and his doctoral degree in 1989 at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. During his postdoctoral stay (1989–1990) at the Institute of Spectroscopy in Troitsk near Moscow, Russia, he started his scientific work on optical dipole forces on atoms in intense laser fields. In 1990, he moved back to Germany to the Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg to work on laser cooling of stored ion beams and on novel schemes to cool and trap neutral atoms. In 2000, he became full professor at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. In 2003, he also became one of the research directors of the newly founded Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. His work focuses on ultracold atomic and molecular quantum gases. Among his achievements are the worldwide first Bose-Einstein condensates of cesium and strontium atoms, and a molecular condensate of lithium dimers. Rudolf Grimm is Fellow of the American Physical Society and Full Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In 2005 he received the Wittgenstein Award, the highest scientific award in Austria, and in 2009 he became Frew Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences.
A prediction that resonantly interacting particles can form weakly bound trimer states remained a mere theoretical oddity for more than three decades until tunable ultracold gases caused the field to explode, with enormous progress in just the last year.