Washington, DC--The Optical Society (OSA) Board of Directors has elected James P. Gordon as the newest honorary member of the society. Gordon was chosen for his numerous high-impact, seminal contributions to quantum electronics and photonics, including the first demonstration of the maser. Gordon serves as a technical consultant at Alcatel Lucent Bell Labs, where he has worked for more than 50 years.
"Jim Gordon’s career has spanned several decades and numerous disciplines, in many cases laying the foundation for whole new fields of physics, including quantum electronics and lasers," said OSA president James C. Wyant. "His work has led to countless application areas, especially optical communications--the backbone of high-speed Internet today. Jim is a true luminary in the field of optics and photonics, and it is fitting to honor him in the year in which the science community is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first working laser."
In one of his most outstanding achievements, as a student of Charles Townes at Columbia University, Gordon analyzed, designed, built, and demonstrated the successful operation of the first maser in 1954 with Townes and Herbert Zeiger. Continuing to lay the foundations for this new field, he conceived and provided the theory (with Gary Boyd) of confocal resonators, fundamental for the modern analysis of Gaussian laser beams and optical cavities that are critical to the design and operation of lasers. Anticipating the important role that lasers would play in enabling high capacity communication, he pioneered the quantum theory of the information capacity of an optical communications channel providing a seminal breakthrough in the fundamental understanding of the limiting capacity of optical communications.
As the optical communications field evolved, Gordon continued to do research that provided key knowledge and insight that was critical both to fellow researchers and to ultimately deployed systems. Gordon was a co-author of the report on the first observation of soliton propagation in optical fibers. Gordon also provided very early key insight into the fundamental limits of coherent optical transmission systems, which have recently become quite prominent for high-capacity 100 Gbps commercial optical systems. His broad interests have also included providing the theoretical basis for “optical tweezers.”
Honorary membership at OSA is given to those who have made unique, seminal contributions to the field of optics. The number of honorary members cannot exceed two-thousandths (2/1000) of the total OSA membership. Election requires the unanimous vote of the Board of Directors, based on the recommendation of the Presidential Advisory Committee and the Awards Committee of the Board. For a complete listing of OSA's honorary members, visit OSA’s website.
SOURCE: OSA (www.osa.org)