Colloquium: Lasers, the Nobel Prize, and the History of Nonlinear Science

February 7, 2022


John Dudley, Ph.D. Professor of Physics, CNRS Research Institute FEMTO-ST in Besancon, France

 Recorded Talk

ABSTRACT: Although there is sometimes a tendency to think of optics as an applications-driven field, the development of light-based technology runs parallel to basic science in many ways. Indeed, fundamental discoveries related to lasers and photonics are regularly recognized at the highest level, and even over the last 20 years, Nobel Prizes have been awarded in quantum optics, semiconductor imaging, optical trapping, optical fibre technology, and ultrafast lasers. This talk will give an overview of a selection of this work. Along the way, we will explore related work related to the history of nonlinear science, including the discovery of solitons in the 19th century, unexpected links with the Manhattan project, ultrafast optics, and recent studies linking giant ocean waves to laser instabilities. We will make additional connections with the field of nonlinear optics which is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2021. The topic is suitable for a broad audience.

BIO:  John Dudley is Professor of Physics at the CNRS Research Institute FEMTO-ST in Besancon, France. His research covers broad areas of optical science and he has published over 500 contributions in journals & conference proceedings and delivered over 120 invited talks at major conferences. He served as the President of the European Physical Society for a two year term from April 2013-March 2015. In 2009, he initiated and Chaired the International Year of Light & Light-based Technologies 2015 and he currently chairs the follow-up International Day of Light. He was awarded the Harold E. Edgerton Award of SPIE for 2019, and the OSA R. W. Wood Prize for 2020, recognizing his contributions to ultrashort pulse measurements, nonlinear fibre optics, and supercontinuum generation. He has won a number of other prizes and distinctions both for his research and his commitment to outreach and public engagement.

TITLE:  Lasers, the Nobel Prize, and the History of Nonlinear Science

DATE:  February 7, 2022

TIME: 3:30 PM (EST)