• 1931 November 23
    (b.) -
    2011 October 07


An electrical engineer and educator concerned with masers and lasers, he was president of the Optical Society of America in 1999 and was awarded the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal in 2009. He was born in Detroit and raised in rural Michigan. He graduated from Catholic Central High School in Detroit in 1949. He received his A.B. degree summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1952; his M.S. in Applied Physics from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1954 under the Hughes Aircraft Company Cooperative Plan; and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1957. He was appointed to the Stanford faculty on an acting basis in 1956 and became an Assistant Professor in 1957 after receiving his PhD with a dissertation topic on microwave noise in electron beams. Shortly thereafter he switched to work on microwave masers and parametric devices, which after 1960 evolved into a research and teaching career in lasers and optics. He was promoted to Full Professor at Stanford in 1964, and retired from his Stanford position as the Burton J. and Ann M. McMurtry Professor of Engineering in November 1998. During his Stanford career he supervised some forty PhD dissertations, published numerous scientific articles, and three textbooks: Microwave Solid-State Masers (McGraw-Hill, 1964), An Introduction to Lasers and Masers (McGraw-Hill, 1972), and Lasers (University Science Books, 1986). He was also Director of the Ginzton Laboratory from 1978 to 1983 and again in 1998-99, and served on numerous academic committees and as a member of the Stanford Faculty senate and its Steering Committee. He also spent sabbatical periods as Visiting Professor of Applied Physics at Harvard in 1965, as a Guggenheim Fellow at IBM Research - Zurich in 1969-70, and as an Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany in 1984-85. Early in his career he was Program Chair for the 1996 International Quantum Electronics Conference and Conference Chair for the 1968 IQEC, and he later served as co-Director of Laser Schools in Korea and Taiwan. He was a member of the United States Air Force Scientific Advisory Board during 1974-80 and served on advisory groups for NBS, NIST, NSF and other government agencies. He received the J J Ebers Award in 1977 from the IEEE and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1973 and the National Academy of Sciences in 1988. In 1996 he was elected as vice-president of the Optical Society of America and served as President of the OSA during 1999. His most notable contribution was in the area of unstable resonators; his book Lasers (1986) became a standard reference in the field. Also among his many publications is, ?Two-Dimensional Calculations Using One-Dimensional Arrays, or `Life on the Skew'," Computers in Physics, 74-75 (November/December 1988).
  • Date of Birth:

    1931 November 23
  • Date of Death:

    2011 October 07
  • Gender:

  • Noted For:

    Major contributor in the area of unstable resonators, microwave masers, parametric devices, lasers and optics
  • Category of Achievement:

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