University of Rochester

Joseph H. Eberly Named Andrew Carnegie Professor of Physics

March 18, 1996

Joseph H. Eberly, an award-winning scientist who works in the fields of quantum optics and laser physics, has been named the Andrew Carnegie Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester.

"As colleagues all over the world know, Professor Eberly is a physicist who does simply brilliant work," said Richard Aslin, vice provost and dean of the College. "It's therefore very appropriate that he hold this chair of distinction."

Two years ago, a paper Eberly co-authored in Science suggested important limitations to Einstein's theory of photoelectric effect, for which Einstein won the Nobel Prize. Einstein showed that atoms emit electrons when they are bombarded with particles of light known as photons. Physicists had assumed since that time that the more light they pumped into an atom, the more readily electrons would be ejected. Eberly showed that under super-intense laser light, atoms stabilize and electrons become less likely to leave the atom.

Eberly's work has earned him international acclaim. He received in 1987 the Marian Smoluchowski Medal, the highest scientific distinction bestowed by the Polish Physical Society. He was the first U.S. scientist to win the award since 1977. Eberly also has won the Alexander von Humboldt Prize from Germany, and the Charles Townes Award of the Optical Society of America, of which he has served as director at large.

Currently, he is director of the Rochester Theory Center for Optical Science and Engineering at the University, and chair- elect of the Division of Laser Science of the American Physical Society.

Eberly has worked on such problems as time-dependent spectral analysis, the coherence theory of optical resonance, atomic relaxation in strong laser fields, multiphoton processes, nonlinear propagation of short optical pulses, and cavity quantum electrodynamics. Fundamental research carried out in these fields underlies a broad range of applications, including laser development, optical communications, computer memory, ultra- stable gyroscopes, and alternative energy sources.

Eberly, who joined the Rochester faculty in 1967, received his bachelor's degree in 1957 from Pennsylvania State University, and his doctorate in 1962 from Stanford University. He has published more than 250 scientific papers, numerous reviews and two texts, and has edited several conference proceedings.

Since 1970 Eberly has held many visiting positions. In this country, these have been at Stanford University and the University of Colorado. Abroad, he has held temporary appointments in universities and research institutes in England, Germany, Poland, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, and Belgium.

Eberly is only the second faculty member to have held the Carnegie chair. The professorship honors the 19th-century industrialist and philanthropist who gave the University a major grant for construction of an applied science building.

The first holder of the Carnegie chair was J. Bruce French, a theoretical nuclear physicist. French is widely known for having made the first accurate calculation of a key atomic parameter called the Lamb Shift. He was also one of the first to work on the theory of direct nuclear reactions, and was a founder of the field of statistical spectroscopy. French was named to the Carnegie chair in 1965, and is now the Andrew Carnegie Professor Emeritus of Physics.