The Laser: The 1960s
The big development in optics in the 1960s was without question the invention of the laser.
It would completely revolutionize the field and make optics an enabler for dramatic breakthroughs
in a whole range of disciplines. The Institute was well positioned to take advantage
of the explosion of optics research. Emil Wolf had just joined the faculty. Just weeks
before the announcement of the invention of the laser, professors Wolf and Hopkins organized
an international meeting on optical coherence that placed the University at the center
of the emerging new field of quantum optics. This conference was the first of a series, the
Rochester Conferences on Coherence and Quantum Optics. The Optics Road Show was
launched, and some very bright young students got the Institute into the ground floor of
At the beginning of this decade The Institute of Optics became an academic department in the newly formed College
of Engineering and Applied Science.