Laser Lecture Series Set to Begin
The Laser Lecture Series, beginning Monday, Nov. 8, at the Flandrau Science Center as part of the Laserfest exhibit, will highlight laser connections and research at the UA. Speakers will include a Nobel laureate, a hologram expert and a laser light scientist.

Jennifer Fitzenberger
Nov. 5, 2010

The UA College of Science and the UA College of Optical Sciences are proud to announce the Laser Lecture Series, three lectures on the history and contemporary uses of the laser. 

The series will begin on Monday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. at the Flandrau Science Center as part of the Laserfest exhibit currently on display. The Laser Lecture Series will highlight laser connections and research at the University of Arizona. It is free and open to the public.

On opening night, the Laser Lecture Series debut lecture will feature Nobel Laureate Nicolaas Bloembergen, a world famous researcher in lasers and optics, and a professor emeritus in the College of Optical Sciences. Bloembergen will talk about the "History of the Laser" and how this crucial scientific discovery has transformed our everyday lives. 

Renowned in the field of lasers and optical science, Bloembergen won the Physics Nobel Prize in 1981 jointly with Arthur L. Schawlow "for their contribution to the development of laser spectroscopy" and non-linear optical effects. These optical effects include "mixing" one light beam with another and permanently joining several laser beams. Today, these laser phenomena are exploited in the optical fibers that transmit most of the world's data, and they are characteristic of future optical computers. 

For this work, Bloembergen is known as the "Father of Nonlinear Optics." Bloembergen also holds one of the key laser patents, an invention that predates and inspired the famous 1960 Schawlow-Townes patent, the first laser patent ever awarded.

Bloembergen's highly anticipated lecture will chart the history of the laser as seen by a man who has been working from day one on the cutting-edge of science related to many discoveries in laser technology, discoveries that have forever changed our world. His presentation promises to captivate both professionals and the general public. 

For the second lecture on Nov. 15, Nasser Peyghambarian, chair of photonics and lasers in optical sciences and co-founder of NP Photonics, a Tucson-based world leader in optical fiber based laser systems, will talk about a new technology that will turn science fiction to reality – programmable laser holograms that can be transmitted over large distances. 

Then on Nov. 22, Brian Anderson, associate professor of optical sciences, will talk about the widespread use of lasers in scientific research. He will discuss how laser light can be used to reach the coldest temperatures in the universe, and how to use this laser cooling to create and manipulate novel forms of matter.

The Laser Lecture Series is part of the Laserfest exhibit currently on display at the Flandrau Science Center, which features a history of the laser, interactive laser exhibits and displays that highlight the use of lasers in many areas of scientific research at the UA. 

This exhibit is part of the world-wide Laserfest 2010, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the invention of the laser. Following its display at Flandrau Science Center, the exhibit will next move to the Deutsches Museum in Munich, Germany, one of the world premier technical museums.

The Arizona Optical Industry Association, or AOIA, and the Galileo Circle donors group from the UA College of Science are sponsoring the Laser Lecture Series.

AOIA represents the optics industry in Tucson's "Optics Valley," a regional innovation cluster that has achieved international stature thanks in large part to the ground-breaking education and research done at the UA College of Optical Sciences.

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