University of Rochester

University Chemist Wins Prestigious Optical Society of America Award

July 30, 2003

Shaul Mukamel, C. E. Kenneth Mees Professor of Chemistry and Physics and Astronomy at the University of Rochester, has been selected by the Optical Society of America (OSA) to receive the 2003 Ellis R. Lippincott Award. The international award is presented to individuals who make innovative contributions to vibrational spectroscopy, a way of detecting the vibrations of individual molecules.

"Shaul is a first-class theoretician, and is held in the highest esteem by everyone who is familiar with his work," says Bill Jones, C. F. Houghton Professor of Chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry.

Mukamel has been a professor of chemistry at the University since 1982. His research interests in theoretical nonlinear optics focus on the design of novel ultrafast coherent optical and infrared pulse sequences for disentangling complex spectra in order to probe molecular structure and dynamics with high resolution.

Mukamel also holds the Sackler Professorship at Tel Aviv University, where he co-founded the Gordon-Keenan Summer School program in Theoretical Chemical Physics. He serves as an advisory editor to Chemical Physics and to Chemical Physics Letter. He is also the author of more than 450 publications, and the popular textbook, Principles of Nonlinear Optical Spectroscopy. He is an OSA fellow and an American Physical Society fellow, and has received the Alfred P. Sloan, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus, the Guggenheim, and the Alexander Von Humbolt awards.

Mukamel was awarded a doctorate from Tel Aviv University in 1976. Following postdoctoral work at MIT and the University of California at Berkeley, he held faculty positions at the Weizmann Institute and at Rice University before taking his current position.

"The OSA Board of Directors takes great pride in presenting these awards," says OSA president, G. Michael Morris, who is also a professor of optics at the University of Rochester. "The caliber of each candidate never ceases to amaze us, and this year's recipients have made significant advancements to not only the science, but also to the entire optics community, through their dedication to the people, organizations and resources that drive the industry forward. We applaud their achievements, motivation and drive."

OSA bestows the Ellis R. Lippincott Award annually, with the formal presentation ceremony taking place during the society's annual meeting, which this year occurs Oct. 5 to 9 in Tucson, Ariz.

The award was established in 1975 by OSA, the Coblentz Society, and the Society for Applied Spectroscopy to honor the unique contributions of Ellis R. Lippincott to the field of vibrational spectroscopy. It is presented to an individual who has made significant contributions to vibrational spectroscopy as judged by his or her influence on other scientists. Because innovation was a hallmark of Lippincott's work, this quality must also be demonstrated by candidates for the award. The award consists of a commemorative crystal box and $1,500.