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The 2015 Willis E. Lamb Award For pioneering theoretical work on random lasers

Awarded January 7, 2015, at the 45th Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics.

A. Douglas Stone, Yale University

For pioneering theoretical work on random lasers.


A. Douglas Stone is Carl A. Morse Professor of Applied Physics, and Professor of Physics at Yale University, where he joined the faculty in 1986. Since becoming a full professor in 1990, he has served as Chair of Applied Physics (1997-2003, 2009-2015), Director of Yale’s Division of Physical Sciences (2004-2009), and Deputy Director of the Yale Quantum Institute (2015-present).

Stone is a theoretical physicist with research interests in condensed matter and optical physics. He has co-authored over 150 research publications, which have been cited over 22,000 times, with an h-index of 67. He was a pioneer in the field of mesoscopic physics,describing systems intermediate between bulk solids and individual atoms or molecules, where novel quantum effects appear. Subsequently he worked on problems relating to the effects of chaos in quantum and electromagnetic systems, and was the first to introduce and study lasers with ray-chaotic resonators. His current work continues to focus on lasers, and other photonic systems with complex geometry and gain and loss. He is the author of over 150 research articles and holds five patents for optical devices. He is a recipient of the McMillan Award of the University of Illinois at Urbana for “outstanding contributions to condensed matter physics” for his research demonstrating “universal conductance fluctuations” in mesoscopic conductors. He was awarded the 2015 Willis Lamb Medal for Laser Science for his work on random and chaotic lasers, in collaboration with his colleague Hui Cao. His group pioneered Steady-state Ab initio Laser Theory (SALT), which is the first general formulation of laser theory set up to deal with arbitrary spatial complexity in a lasing structure efficiently, assuming steady-state operation. He is also a pioneer of the Coherent Perfect Absorber (the time-reversed or “anti-laser”), and recently has generalized this concept to describe all Reflectionless Scattering Modes (RSMs), a general theory of wave impedance matching. He has a longstanding interest in coherent diffusion of waves, and he and coworkers, Shechao Feng, Charlie Kane and Patrick Lee, discovered in 1988 long-ranged correlations of diffusing wave which recently have been used to control light propagation and imaging through normally opaque media, such as clouds or human tissue. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the Optical Society of America, and is an Honorary General Member of the Aspen Center for Physics.

Stone received his undergraduate degree from Harvard in 1976, a Master’s degree in Physics and Philosophy from Balliol College, Oxford in 1978 (where he was a Rhodes Scholar) and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from MIT in 1983. He writes regularly about science for general audiences; his book Einstein and the Quantum (Princeton University Press, 2013) received the Phi Beta Kappa science book award in 2014.

Bio provided by A. Douglas Stone, 2020.

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