MIT's Ippen to Deliver Distinguished Visitor Lecture at Yale: Ultrafast Optics for Physics, Medicine, and Engineering

Erich P. Ippen

The Distinguished Visitor Lecture for the Yale chapter of Sigma Xi will be given by Erich P. Ippen, the Elihu Thomson Professor of Electrical Engineering and Professor of physics at MIT on Thursday, April 6 at 4 p.m. in Davies Auditorium, 15 Prospect Street.

The host of the lecture, Janet L. Pan, the Barton L. Weller Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and of Applied Physics at Yale University said of Ippen, “He is widely respected in the international physics and engineering communities. For a long time, he held the record for obtaining the world’s shortest optical pulse.”

“For these and other accomplishments, Professor Ippen was elected to both the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Science, honors which are rare even among very established senior faculty,” she said. “His talk will discuss the difficulties which had to be overcome in order to generate ultrafast optical pulses, as well as recent applications to high speed communications, medicine, and physics.”

Current research topics in Ippen’s group involve medical imaging, optical clocks, micromachining, femtosecond spectroscopy of solid-state materials, ultrafast nonlinearities in semiconductor waveguides, and ultrashort-pulse optical fiber devices. His past research has included nonlinear interactions in optical fibers, dye lasers, semiconductor diode lasers, ultrashort pulse generation, femtosecond optical techniques, and studies of ultrafast processes in materials and devices.

Among his many other honors, Ippen is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the Optical Society of America (OSA). He has received the R.W. Wood Prize of the OSA, the Edward Longstreth Medal of the Franklin Institute, the Morris Leeds Award of the IEEE, a Humboldt U.S. Senior Scientist Award, the H.E. Edgerton Award of the SPIE, the John Scott Award of the City of Philadelphia Trusts, the Quantum Electronics Award of the IEEE/LEOS and the Arthur Schawlow Prize of the APS.

Trained in electrical engineering, Ippen received his B.S. from the MIT in 1962, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in the same field from the University of California in 1965 and 1968, respectively. He was a member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, N.J., from 1968 to 1980. In 1980, he joined the faculty of the MIT. He was a visiting professor at the Technical University of Munich, the Technical University of Vienna, and a visiting scientist at the NTT Iberaki Laboratory and ENSTA Palaiseau.

A reception will follow the talk. Please RSVP to Erica Brossard 203-432-4200 or

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Janet Rettig Emanuel:, 203-432-2157