University of Rochester professor of physics and astronomy Joseph Eberly has been awarded the 2010 Frederic Ives Medal, the highest award given by the Optical Society of America.
Endowed in 1928, the medal recognizes overall distinction in the field of optics and comes with a $10,000 honorarium. It is given to one person each year, and of its 71 winners, eight (including Eberly) have been professors at the University of Rochester. As this year's recipient, Eberly will give a plenary address at the Optical Society's annual meeting, which, by coincidence, will be held in Rochester from Oct. 24 to 28.
Throughout his career, Eberly has made significant contributions to the field of quantum optics, an area of study that emerged around the 1970s, when the advent of tunable lasers made it possible to begin to test some important predictions of quantum mechanics. Prior to that time, a number of the revolutionary theoretical predictions of quantum mechanics had not been corroborated in the laboratory.
"Professor Eberly is an exceptional physicist, mentor, and professional leader," said Nicholas Bigelow, chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
"His scientific contributions are only matched by the quality of his textbooks and the excellence and impact of his students. Joe Eberly has shaped the field in numerous ways and it is a pleasure to know him and to have him as a colleague."
Eberly has published more than 350 research papers with students and collaborators from more than a dozen countries. He is a former president of the Optical Society of America and the founding editor of the journal Optics Express. He won the Smoluchowski Medal from the Polish Physical Society in 1987 and the Charles Hard Townes Award from the Optical Society in 1994. He has also been the Chair of the American Physical Society's Division of Laser Science and is an elected foreign member of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
Past University of Rochester winners of the prize include Brian O'Brien, Robert E. Hopkins, Rudolf Kingslake, David MacAdam, Emil Wolf, Leonard Mandel and Robert M. Boynton.