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Former Institute of Optics director Kenneth Teegarden dies

February 14, 2018
photo of Kenneth Teegarden

Kenneth Teegarden

Kenneth Teegarden, a former director of the Institute of Optics and a member of its faculty for more than 60 years, was an expert in solid state physics, particularly the interaction of light with glass, semiconductors, and other materials.

Teegarden, who died February 1, 2018, was also the first director of the University’s Materials Science program.

Starting in 1983, he led the New York State Center for Advanced Optical Technology. Based at the Institute, it was one of five centers created by the state to foster university-industry programs to develop technologies with high economic potential.

Teegarden, who received his PhD from the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1954, joined the Institute of Optics that year as a research associate, was promoted to assistant professor, then achieved associate professor with tenure in 1961 and full professor in 1966. When he retired in 2015 he was awarded the status of professor emeritus.

He served as director of the Institute of Optics starting in 1981, not long after the institute moved into the Space Science Center (now called Wilmot Hall).  He served until 1987. “The new building as well as the explosion of applications of laser optics into all sorts of new industries  . . . gave rise to increased expectations, and increased accomplishment,” notes A Jewel in the Crown, a history of the institute. “The number of students, both undergraduate and graduate, rose quickly.”




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Category: University News