Ultrafast laser pioneer Alfano garners Prize in Laser Science

Robert Alfano

The American Physical Society (APS; College Park, MD) has awarded the 2013 Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science to Distinguished Professor of Science and Engineering Robert Alfano. The prize recognizes outstanding contributions to basic research using lasers to advance knowledge of the fundamental physical properties of materials and their interaction with light. The award is endowed by the NEC Corporation, an information technology and network solutions company, and provides a stipend of $10,000.

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In particular, the APS honored Professor Alfano “for pioneering contributions to the field of ultrafast laser science, including the discovery of supercontinuum generation and new laser materials, as well as the study of pulse propagation in strongly scattering media.” He will receive the prize in a ceremonial bestowal at APS Division of Laser Science and Optical Society of America annual meeting, to be held October 6-10, 2013, in Orlando, FL.

Professor Alfano founded the Institute for Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers in 1982 and remains its director. As well as his work in ultrafast laser science, he applied light and photonics technologies to the study of biological, biomedical, and condensed matter systems, the “strongly scattering media” described in his award citation. He has published more than 700 papers in photonics journals, holds more than 100 patents, and has trained and mentored more than 52 PhDs and 50 postdoctoral researchers.

He received Coherent-Biophotonics Lifetime Achievement Award in Biomedical Optics from the Society of Photo-Instrumentation Engineers in 2002, the Optical Society’s Charles Hard Townes Award in 2008 for work including the white-light supercontinuum discovery, the first Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award in 2012, honoring his pioneering contributions to optical methods for biology or medicine, and recently received one of the inaugural CCNY President’s Award for Excellence.

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