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The 2006 Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics

Announced September 21, 2005. Awarded January 5, 2006, at the 36th Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics.

Raymond Y. Chiao, University of California at Berkeley

For contributions to our understanding of time in quantum mechanics in connection with the quantum eraser and ultra-fast light.


Raymond Chiao was born in Hong Kong on Oct. 9, 1940, and moved as a child to the United States in 1947. He grew up in New York City, where he attended Collegiate School. It was there that he first got interested in science through reading Gamow’s book One, Two, Three, ..., Infinity.

He was admitted to Princeton University in 1957 as an electrical engineer, but then switched to the physics department, where he worked unsuccessfully with John Wheeler on a senior thesis project on the quantization of general relativity. He then switched from theoretical physics to experimental physics in graduate studies at MIT under the supervision of C. H. Townes, shortly after the experimental realization of the ruby laser. His thesis topic was on the first observation of the stimulated Brillouin effect.

After obtaining his Ph. D. in 1965 from MIT, he taught as an assistant professor there until 1967. He moved to UC Berkeley in 1967, and remained there until recently. Starting January 1, 2006, he has joined the faculty at UC Merced.

His research interests have been in nonlinear optics, Josephson parametric amplifiers, Berry’s phases in optics, and the quantum optics of two-photon interference. He plans to initiate at UC Merced experimental work at the interface of quantum mechanics and general relativity, such as the use of two Planck-mass, macroscopically coherent charged superfluid drops as transducers for generating, as well as detecting, gravitational radiation.

Bio provided by Prof. Chiao, 2006.

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