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2006 Science, Tech Laureates Announced

Photonics.com
Jul 2007
WASHINGTON, July 18, 2007 -- The 13 recipients of the nation's highest science and technology honors for 2006 include a pioneer in the development of fiber optics technology, a groundbreaking atomic physicist, a trailblazing biomedical engineer, and an inventor of modern microphone technology.

President George W. Bush announced the 2006 recipients of the National Medals of Science and Technology this week; the 2005 laureates were announced last month (See "Tech, Sci Medalists Named"). Both the 2005 and 2006 medals will be presented by President Bush to the laureates during a White House ceremony July 27.

2006SciTech.jpgMedal of Technology recipient Herwig Kogelnik is a 46-year veteran of Bell Labs, currently serving as adjunct photonics systems research vice president. His groundbreaking work in photonics and optical communications is considered to have revolutionized modern lightwave communications technology, and he is credited with helping to dramatically change global information movement and management. He has directed both the Electronics Research and the Photonics Research labs, with his research focused on optics, electronics, and communications, including work on holography, photonics, laser resonators, and Gaussian beams.

Kogelnik and his partner pioneered the distributed-feedback (DFB) laser in 1971. Also, his leadership in the development of practical wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) led to a groundbreaking dense WDM system, further revolutionizing lightwave communications by expanding capacity and lowering costs.

In the area of photonic switching, Kogelnik's research helped lead to the development of the reversal directional coupler wavelength switch, a mainstay of experimental photonic switching systems, and a necessary component in ultrahigh-speed optical networks. Under his leadership, the Photonics Research Laboratory developed many other fundamental components of optical communications, including high-speed avalanche photodiodes, tunable semiconductor lasers, photonic integrated circuits, and high-capacity amplified transmission systems.

2006 National Medal of Science recipient Daniel Kleppner, the Lester Wolfe Professor of Physics, Emeritus, and principal investigator in the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT, has made fundamental contributions to atomic physics and quantum optics, mainly using hydrogen and hydrogen-like atoms. He built new devices, performed spectroscopic tests of extreme precision and investigated novel quantum phenomena. In 1960, he co-developed the hydrogen maser, which was later used as an incredibly stable atomic clock. Kleppner and colleagues also pioneered a new field of physics, the study of ultracold gases. They developed tools instrumental to the later discovery of Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) in alkali atoms. BECs represent a new form of matter at the lowest temperatures ever achieved.

Medal of Technology recipient and biomedical engineer Leslie Geddes is the Showalter Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University. His more than 50 years of research has spawned innovations ranging from burn treatments to miniature defibrillators, ligament repair to tiny blood pressure monitors for premature infants.

Medal of Technology recipient James West has been a research professor at Johns Hopkins University in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering since 2002. His pioneering research conducted over 40 years at Bell Labs on charge storage and transport in polymers led to the development of electret transducers for sound recording and voice communication. Almost 90 percent of all microphones built today are based on the principles first published by West in the early 1960s. His transducer is the heart of most new telephones and can be found in most applications from toys to professional equipment.

The National Medal of Science was established in 1959 to honor individuals "deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical or engineering sciences." In 1980 Congress expanded this recognition to include the social and behavioral sciences.

The National Medal of Technology was created in 1980 "to recognize those who have made lasting contributions to America's competitiveness, standard of living, and quality of life through technological innovation, and to recognize those who have made substantial contributions to strengthening the nation's technological workforce."

The other recipients of the 2006 National Medal of Science are: biomedical engineer Robert Langer, MIT.; microbiologist, biotechnologist and former director of the National Science Foundation Rita Colwell, University of Maryland; chemistry and chemical engineering professor Peter Dervan, California Institute of Technology; life sciences and biotechnology researcher Nina Fedoroff, Pennsylvania State University; biochemist Lubert Stryer, Stanford University School of Medicine; mathematics professor Hyman Bass, University of Michigan; and chemistry and biochemistry professor Marvin Caruthers, University of Colorado.

National Medal of Technology laureates for 2006 also include: Charles Vest, MIT president emeritus and now president of the National Academy of Engineering; and Paul Kaminski, chairman and CEO of consulting company Technovation Inc. and former undersecretary of defense for acquisition and technology.

For more information, visit: www.nsf.gov


GLOSSARY
maser
An acronym for microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Predecessor to the laser, the maser or 'microwave laser' was the first device to produce coherent electromagnetic waves, and was done at microwave frequencies through amplification by stimulated emission. A laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) is a maser that works over a broader range of higher frequency photons in the ultraviolet and visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. ...
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
quantum optics
The area of optics in which quantum theory is used to describe light in discrete units or ‘quanta’ of energy known as photons. First observed by Albert Einstein’s photoelectric effect, this particle description of light is the foundation for describing the transfer of energy (i.e. absorption and emission) in light matter interaction.
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