Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) physics professor Alfred "Alf" Cooper, an expert in electro-optics and the longest-serving faculty member in the history of the Monterey, Calif., security research university, received a Navy Superior Civilian Service Award at his retirement ceremony held there last month. Cooper’s 50 years of research and teaching have made him a "living legend" with faculty, friends and colleagues, the NPS said in a statement. Cooper served the US Navy and Department of Defense through 20 NPS superintendents and presidents and mentored 145 master’s and 14 doctoral students. He was chairman of the NPS faculty council three times and spent was on the faculty executive board for 13 years. "From vacuum tubes and plasma physics, to high-power lasers and infrared systems, his career has mirrored the development of technologies of interest to the Navy in the second half of the 20th century," said physics department chairman James Luscombe. "Before research even became part of the basic mission of the school, he developed close ties with all branches of the Department of Defense, for years maintained one of the largest sponsored programs at NPS and has been instrumental in bringing important technologies into the physics curricula." Two days after retiring, Cooper -- who will remain at NPS as a professor emeritus -- began teaching courses on wave electro-optics in the NPS information warfare and electronic warfare curricula.