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Sponsored by the NEC Corporation, the prize is intended to recognize outstanding contributions to basic research that use lasers to advance knowledge of the fundamental physical properties of materials and their interaction with light. Their citation reads, "For their pioneering work in developing femtosecond sources and for their leadership in applying these sources in broad areas of science."
Ippen received his BS in physics from MIT in 1962 and his Ph.D in electrical engineering from the University of California in 1968. He was a member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, N.J., from 1968 until 1980, when he joined the faculty of MIT, where he is the Elihu Professor of Electrical Engineering, as well as a professor of physics.
His research interests have included nonlinear interactions in optical fibers, dye lasers, semiconductor diode lasers, ultrashort pulse generation, femtosecond optical techniques and studies of ultrafast processes in materials and devices. His current research involves femtosecond spectrometry of solid-state materials, ultrafast nonlinearities in semiconductor waveguides, and ultrashort-pulse optical fiber devices.
Shank received his Ph.D from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1969 and promptly joined the staff of AT&T Bell Laboratories. During his 20-year tenure there, he held numerous leadership positions, including director of the Electronics Research Laboratory. He made pioneering contributions to the study of ultrafast events that occur in a millionth of a billionth of a second using short laser pulses, and contributed to fiber optic communications with the invention of the distributed feedback laser, a component in high data rate transmission systems.
Shank assumed his present position at LBL in 1989, and also holds a unique triple appointment as a professor at UC-Berkeley in the departments of physics, chemistry, and electrical engineering and computer sciences. During his tenure at LBL, he has served on numerous state and national committees and councils, including the Council on Competitiveness and the National Critical Technologies Panel of the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy. In 1996 he was awarded the APS George Pake Prize for his pioneering research accomplishments in the area of laser development and ultrafast phenomena, as well as his leadership roles at Bell Labs and LBL.
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