The Institute of Optics

News & Events

 May 15, 2012

Carlos Stroud serving as division chair for APS/DLS

Since November 2011 Carlos Stroud has been serving as the Chair of the Division of Laser Science DLS of the American Physical Society APS. This is just another example of our faculty being highly active and recognized in leadership roles in the optical community.

Below you will find a copy of his letter to the laser science community that was published in the March 2012 APS/DLS newsletter.

"The unique role of the Division of Laser Science (DLS) is already implicit in the ambiguity of its name. The laser is a device invented just over fifty years ago, and while there is still a great deal of science in the engineering task of building better lasers (science that has a home in DLS) there is a far greater range of science in the application of lasers to an ever increasing range of important problems, both fundamental and applied. It is the science of these applications that is the primary focus of our division. Lasers are an indispensable tool in atomic and molecular physics, in medicine, in condensed matter physics, in quantum information, in attosecond physics, in high energy density physics and even in x-ray physics. I am convinced that this range of problems which are appropriately addressed by our division is going to grow rapidly for at least another twenty years as lasers become more compact and extend the range of intensities available beyond 1020 W/cm2, pulse durations below 10-17seconds, and wavelengths into the hard x-ray region. The rapid development of nanometer scale devices also provides an extremely promising area for exploitation of laser science.

If we are to serve this rapidly changing field, we really must be flexible and willing to reach out rapidly and provide a home for the new areas of laser science as they are developed. Our principal meetings at CLEO:QELS and FiO/LS are ideal for this outreach as they are jointly sponsored meetings in which we reach out and interact with the engineering communities of OSA and IEEE. Many of these attendees are not members of APS and are attracted to our sessions at these meetings. If we serve their needs they will soon be new members of DLS. Even within APS there is a very large group which is getting more and more into laser science, and that is the condensed matter community. At the APS March Meeting this year, DLS sponsored a session organized by Steve Cundiff and Nicholas Vamivakas on the topic of quantum optics in condensed matter. Nick is organizing another symposium on this topic at FiO/LS 2012 in Rochester, New York. With this sort of initiative, we can make DLS meetings the home of this growing new research area.

Of course, another way to be sure that we remain at the forefront of the field is to attract and serve young scientists. We have several programs that reach out to those just entering our field or who might enter it in the near future. We sponsor the New Laser Scientist Conference in which new university and college faculty members come together to present their research and network with their cohort and with program officers from various funding agencies. The 7th NLSC will be coordinated by Dan Stamper-Kurn. It will take place in conjunction with the 2012 FiO/LS meeting. We also sponsor the Undergraduate Research Symposium every year at FiO/LS, a program ably, nay nobly, run for several years by Hal Metcalf. Every year this symposium attracts about 40 undergraduates to present their first conference paper and get excited about a career in laser science. We reach out to even more undergraduates and even high school students through our Distinguished Traveling Lecturer Program in which one of a group of lecturers goes out to spend two days visiting a physics program at an undergraduate college, giving a series of technical and public general interest lectures. Often the public lectures associated with these visits attract one to three hundred people to hear about the exciting things going on in laser science. Rainer Grobe has done an excellent job of running this program for several years.

I am honored to serve as the Chair of DLS this year. The range of activities and the energy of the Division officers and volunteers has really impressed me. I hope that I have conveyed my enthusiasm for the promising future of the field and the daunting task of keeping up with it. We can only do it with dedicated volunteers to organize conference sessions and symposia as well as serve on committees and as officers. Please send along your suggestions, and let us know that you are willing to help."

Carlos Stroud

Chair, APS Division of Laser Science