Dr. Marlan O. Scully, distinguished professor of physics and astronomy at Texas A&M University and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University, has been selected to receive the 2012 Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus Quinn Prize, the highest award of the Optical Society (OSA) recognizing overall distinction in optics.

Scully, a world-renowned pioneer of quantum optics and laser physics, is cited for "lifetime leadership in groundbreaking research on all aspects of quantum optics, including the quantum theory of the laser, quantum coherence effects, quantum thermodynamics and the foundation of quantum mechanics." His award was one of 18 announced Monday (Apr. 2) by OSA to honor achievement in and commitment to the optics field.

"OSA is proud to honor Marlan for his leadership in the field of optics and photonics," said OSA President Tony Heinz. "Marlan has made major contributions to advancing the science and technology of light. His accomplishments and commitment serve to inspire the next generation of optics researchers and educators."

The Ives Medal/Quinn Prize, first presented in 1929, was endowed in 1928 by Herbert E. Ives, a distinguished charter member and former OSA president (1924 and 1925), to honor his father, who was noted as the inventor of modern photoengraving and for his pioneering contributions to color photography, three-color process printing and other branches of applied optics. The prize portion of the prestigious honor celebrates Jarus W. Quinn, who served 25 years as OSA's first executive director, and is funded by the Jarus W. Quinn Ives Medal Endowment raised by members at the time of Quinn's retirement to commemorate his extensive service to the organization.

As the 2012 Ives Medal winner, Scully will present a plenary address at OSA's 96th Annual Meeting, Frontiers in Optics 2012, scheduled for October 14-18 in Rochester, New York.

"This is a very well-deserved honor for Marlan," said Dr. George R. Welch, professor and head of the Texas A&M Department of Physics and Astronomy. "He is truly one of the pioneers of quantum optics. His career has been dedicated to understanding the most fundamental aspects of the quantum interactions of light and matter, and he is responsible for much of what is now taken for granted in the field. Receiving the highest honor of the Optical Society speaks volumes about how his work is valued by his colleagues. Our department is very proud for him."

Scully is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Academia Europaea and the Max Planck Society as well as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, OSA and the American Physical Society (APS). His career features a vast set of contributions to the field of quantum optics and physics, from developing the quantum theory of the laser and micro-maser theory to discovering the concept of the quantum eraser and inventing the concepts of correlated emission. In addition to contributing to the formulation of the theory of laser gyroscopes and free-electron lasers, Scully co-led the first experiment demonstrating lasing without inversion and carried out the first demonstration of room-temperature slow light. He also is responsible for the development of a comprehensive theory of the dynamics of Bose-condensation, among many other career accomplishments. He has published more than 500 papers that have been cited more than 20,000 times and written two textbooks in laser physics and quantum electronics.

In addition to joint professorial appointments at both Texas A&M and Princeton, Scully holds the Hershel E. Burgess '29 Chair in Physics in the Texas A&M Department of Physics and Astronomy as well as a distinguished research chair with the Texas Engineering Experiment Station. His multiple Texas A&M appointments also include associate dean for external relations in the College of Science, professor of chemistry and engineering, and director of both the Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering (IQSE) and the Center for Theoretical Physics within the College of Science.

"We are so pleased that Marlan Scully can add this extraordinary recognition to his very long list of awards and honors," said Dr. H. Joseph Newton, dean of the College of Science. "In addition to his remarkable scholarly activities, he serves and honors Texas A&M and its College of Science in many ways."

A highly decorated researcher and scholar, Scully's many awards and professional honors include OSA's Herbert Walther Award, Adolph E. Lomb Medal and Charles H. Townes Award; the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.'s Quantum Electronics Award; the Franklin Institute's Elliott Cresson Medal; a Guggenheim Fellowship; the Alexander von Humboldt Distinguished Faculty Prize; the APS' Arthur L. Schawlow Prize and Harvard University's Morris Loeb Lectureship. In February 2010 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Ulm -- the birthplace of Albert Einstein -- in Germany for his pioneering work in laser physics and quantum optics.

Scully, who joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1992, received both his master's of science and Ph.D. degrees in physics from Yale University. He is a distinguished alumnus of the University of Wyoming, where he received his bachelor's degree in engineering physics.

Founded in 1916 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Optical Society unites more than 130,000 professionals from 175 countries in an effort to bring together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. The Society works to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to scientists, engineers and business leaders by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visit www.osa.org.

Click here to read a more extensive feature story on Scully and his career contributions to teaching, research and service.


Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Dr. Marlan O. Scully

    A world-renowned pioneer in quantum optics and laser physics, Dr. Scully has brought distinction to Texas A&M University by leading the way to many scientific breakthroughs, such as slowing the speed of light to the snail-like pace of 10 miles per hour, making revolutionary lasers without population inversion and showing how quantum mechanics can yield a class of novel quantum heat engines.

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