Cornell University photonics pioneer Michal Lipson wins "Genius Award"

Sept. 30, 2010
Ithaca, NY--The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation named Michal Lipson one of 23 MacArthur Fellows for 2010.

Ithaca, NY--The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has named Michal Lipson, Cornell University associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, one of 23 MacArthur Fellows for 2010the so-called "Genius Awards." She will receive $500,000 in no-strings-attached support over the next five years.

Lipson is a pioneer in the development of photonic circuits, in which beams of light flitting through tiny waveguides on a silicon chip replace electric currents. The MacArthur Foundation cites her as one of the first to work with such circuits on a silicon base, where they can be manufactured with the same technologies used to make electronic microchips. She demonstrated methods to guide, filter, bend and split light on silicon chips at much smaller dimensions than attained by previous researchers, offering the promise of photonic circuits as small as current electronic chips.

"We were one of the first to show it could be done," Lipson said. "At the time it was considered very risky, but there has been a lot of follow-up." These days, she said, papers in the field almost always cite her early work.

The MacArthur Fellowships are awarded to writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers and entrepreneurs based on "exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work." The grant is paid in quarterly installments over five years, and the foundation requires no reports. Recipients are expected to use the funding for work that might be too innovative to earn conventional support.

Lipson studied physics at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, receiving her B.A. in 1992, M.S. in 1993 and Ph.D. in 1998. From 1998 to 2001, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Materials Research Society and is a fellow of the Optical Society of America.

SOURCE: Cornell Chronicle Online;

About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

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