James Hollenhorst


Biographical Summary

Jim Hollenhorst is Senior Director of Technology for Agilent Technologies. He served previously as Vice President and Director of Molecular Technology, as VP and Director of Technology Management and as Director of Electronics Research. He is currently serving as the first elected Treasurer of the American Physical Society.

He received his B.S. in Physics from the University of Minnesota and his M.S. and Ph. D. in Physics from Stanford University. His thesis topic was on gravitational radiation detectors. His work on phase sensitive quantum measurements initiated a flood of research on “squeezed states” named after the “squeeze operator,” which he introduced in this context. He was the first to suggest the use of squeezed states to improve the sensitivity of gravity wave detectors. He spent eleven years at Bell Laboratories, where his team developed the avalanche photodiodes that became a mainstay of AT&T’s network. His team also developed the pump lasers that enabled the world’s first optically-amplified submarine cable.

The following 25 years were spent at HP and its spin-off, Agilent, where he led research spanning a wide range of disciplines. A notable accomplishment was his initiation and early leadership of the development of FBAR filter technology, arguably the most successful MEMS technology ever developed and a key enabler of compact smart phones. Agilent had 100% market share for more than half a decade, while competitors scrambled to produce their own FBAR. This success was a key contributor to the success of Agilent’s spin off, Avago, which ultimately acquired Broadcom and recently made a $146B offer to acquire Qualcomm. Broadcom ships between five and ten billion FBAR filters annually. More recently, Jim’s work has centered on nucleic acid technologies for life science applications.

In addition to his financial experience in leading research organizations, he received training in finance and accounting in executive development programs at AT&T and HP and through executive training at the Kellogg School of Management. As APS Treasurer, he currently chairs the Finance and Investment Committees and serves on the Audit and Compensation Committees. He is also a member of the Board Executive Committee. Previously he served as chair of the audit and compensation committees for a biotech startup, Gen9, for which he was also a board member.

Hollenhorst is a Fellow of APS and of the IEEE. He served two terms on the governing board of the American Institute of Physics, as chair of the Physics Today Advisory Committee and as chair of the Corporate Associates and chair of the search committee for the current Editor-in-Chief of Physics Today. He has served on numerous prize committees for the AIP, APS, EPS, and IEEE, as well as serving on the selection committee for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation under two presidential administrations. He served on many industrial and academic advisory committees including: the California Nanosystems Institute, the Stanford Center for Integrated Systems, the Berkeley Wireless Research Center, and the Center for Analytical Biotechnology.

James Hollenhorst photo 2018


I am currently in my third year as Treasurer of the Society and, once again, it is my pleasure to stand for election. While most of my career has been in management, my passion has always been physics. APS plays an increasingly important role in nurturing the community of physicists, using its influence to strengthen science policy, and providing authoritative information in a world overloaded with information from questionable sources.

APS is in very good shape, both in carrying out its mission and in its financial health. Nevertheless, the Society and its membership face many challenges, not the least of which is the threat to the business model due to rapid changes in the scientific publishing field. Open access is the rallying cry from the government, the universities, and from the readers and authors of our journal articles; but someone has to pay for the added value that APS brings.

I would bring an industrial perspective to APS. Most physics graduates find jobs in the private sector, often working in interdisciplinary teams and rarely identified by their academic disciplines; but they can still benefit greatly from the role that APS plays. As Treasurer, I would bring the conviction that sound financial management is a top priority. Without it, none of the exciting goals of APS will survive the test of time. In partnership with the senior leaders of the Society, we have accomplished a lot in placing the Society on a firm financial footing and taking a more strategic approach to planning and budgeting. I am eager to return for a second term to carry on this important work.

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