Charles Townes, the Nobel laureate acclaimed for his pioneering work on lasers and nonlinear optics, sadly passed away in January this year. Here I offer personal reflections of working with him as one of his graduate students.
Pioneers in Photonics
We celebrate and remember some of the great scientists who have helped shape the field of photonics from the invention of the laser onwards. This collection brings together in one place all the obituaries that have been published in Nature Photonics since our launch. The personal stories and history of these exceptional scientists are recounted explaining how their achievements impacted the field of optics and the legacies that remain.
Nicolaas Bloembergen made rich contributions to nuclear magnetic resonance, masers and lasers, nonlinear optics and ultrafast laser–matter interactions. The Nobel laureate sadly passed away on 5 September 2017. Here are my memories of my Harvard mentor, a remarkable person and a wonderful scientist.
Optical fibre technology transformed telecommunications, leading to the global broadband Internet, and beyond. Charles Kuen Kao is the father of optical fibre communications whose vision changed the world.
Osamu Shimomura’s 90-year life came to an end on 19 October 2018. Throughout his long and exceedingly fruitful career, the Japanese marine biologist and chemist passionately explored the phenomenon of bioluminescence in living organisms, earning a Nobel Prize in the process.
Victor Georgievich Veselago (1929–2018), a Russian scientist from the Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow, provided great inspiration and impetus to the field of metamaterials with his theoretical analysis of materials with a negative index of refraction.
The 2005 Nobel laureate, Roy Jay Glauber, sadly passed away on 26 December 2018 at the age of 93. He was highly regarded for his work on the quantum theory of coherence, as well as for his contributions to nuclear physics, scattering theory and statistical mechanics.
Emil Wolf died in June 2018 at the age of 95. The father of optical coherence theory was at the University of Rochester for nearly 60 years. A memorial in August at the university attracted more than 150 attendees from around the world.
John Love, co-author of the famous book Optical Waveguide Theory, passed away on 19 June 2016. The Australian optics community has lost a founding pillar.
Ronald Drever may be most famous for co-founding the LIGO project and his gravitational-wave research, but his contributions to laser stabilization have had broad impact on the photonics community.