People : Stanford, Drexel Physicists Recognized For Contributions To Laser Science

Stanford, Drexel Physicists Recognized For Contributions To Laser Science MIT Honors Nobel Winner Jerome Friedman With Special Title, `Institute Professor Obituaries ~ Mary Hewitt Loveless and Irvine H. Page Contributions To Laser Science AUTHOR: Rebecca Andrews, p.21-22 Lorenzo M. Narducci, Francis K. Davis Professor of Physics and Atmospheric Science at Philadelphia's Drexel University, and Stephen E. Harris, Kenneth and Barbara Oshman Professor of Electrical Engineering and professo

Jul 8, 1991
Rebecca Andrews

  • Stanford, Drexel Physicists Recognized For Contributions To Laser Science
  • MIT Honors Nobel Winner Jerome Friedman With Special Title, `Institute Professor
  • Obituaries ~ Mary Hewitt Loveless and Irvine H. Page

    Contributions To Laser Science

    AUTHOR: Rebecca Andrews, p.21-22

    Lorenzo M. Narducci, Francis K. Davis Professor of Physics and Atmospheric Science at Philadelphia's Drexel University, and Stephen E. Harris, Kenneth and Barbara Oshman Professor of Electrical Engineering and professor of applied physics at Stanford University, have been named cowinners of the 1991 Einstein Prize for Laser Science by the Society for Optics and Quantum Electronics. The two were cited for "important contributions in the area of the effects of atomic coherence in laser physics." They will each receive an inscribed medal at Lasers '91, the 14th International Conference on Lasers and Applications, to be held in San Diego in December.

    Narducci is being recognized for his 1990 theory that it is possible to alter the fundamental characteristics of atomic emissions of light (Physical Review A, 42:1630-49, 1990), breaking from the long-standing belief that each element has a signature, unchanging spectral line. Narducci's work involves multilevel atomic systems, in which atoms with more than one energy level interact with laser light. Narducci predicted that the illumination of an atom with two laser beams in a certain way could induce "atomic coherence," in which the motion of the atom at different energy levels could be correlated. The outcome of this process is a much narrower spectral line. Narducci's theory was recently validated by T.W. Mossberg at the University of Oregon (Physical Review Letters, 66:2460-63, 1991).

    Although the applications of this work are yet to be developed, Narducci speculates that it could have important ramifications for high-resolution analytical spectroscopy. "If you have two spectral lines that are too close to each other, it would look like a blur," he says. "If we can narrow the width of the two lines, they would then become distinct."

    Harris's work, also related to atomic coherence, involves the development of lasers without inversion. Harris, director of the Edward L. Ginzton Laboratory at Stanford, explains that atoms in a ground state absorb energy, while atoms in an excited state emit energy. In order to create a laser, it is necessary to induce a "population inversion," in which there are more excited atoms than ground-state atoms. Harris's Stanford team found a way to circumvent this requirement by rendering the ground-state atoms transparent, neither emitting nor absorbing energy (Physical Review Letters, 66:2593-96, 1991).

    One exciting outcome of this line of research could be the development of X-ray lasers, something that Narducci, who is also exploring lasers without inversion, explains has been out of reach because of the difficulty--or impossibility--of creating a population inversion for such an energy-intensive system. X-ray lasers would have many uses, says Narducci, but one of the most immediate applications would be in microlithography, used in etching semiconductor wafers of integrated circuits. X-ray lasers would allow many times more elements to be etched on a wafer than do current methods. However, Narducci notes, this application is still totally speculative: "We don't have an X-ray laser, it's as simple as that, but maybe in the next 10 years we will."

    Narducci earned his doctorate in physics at the University of Milan, Italy, in 1964. He taught at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts from 1966 until 1976, when he joined Drexel. Harris earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford in 1963. He joined the Stanford faculty the same year.

    --Rebecca Andrews

    Special Title, `Institute Professor'

    AUTHOR: Barbara Spector, p.21

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has named Jerome I. Friedman, who shared the 1990 Nobel Prize in physics, an Institute Professor. The title, initiated by the faculty and bestowed jointly by the faculty and administration, is reserved for MIT scholars who have made exceptional contributions to the institute. There are usually no more than 12 active Institute Professors on the faculty at one time. Friedman's appointment brings the current total to 10, plus 21 Institute Professors emeriti.

    Friedman won his Nobel Prize along with MIT's Henry W. Kendall and Richard Taylor of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. The trio's experiments in the late 1960s and early 1970s (Physical Review Letters, 23:930 and 23:935, 1969) gave the first clear evidence for a charged, point-like substructure inside the nucleon, data that supported the quark model and sparked the development of quantum chromodynamics.

    Friedman was the director of MIT's Laboratory for Nuclear Science from 1980 to 1983 and headed the physics department from 1983 to 1988. While leading the department, he spearheaded the drive to strengthen the institute's undergraduate physics program. He also made the education of minority students a top priority, instituting a conference for minority physics students to discuss career and graduate school opportunities. In addition, he led the effort to pay the full academic-year salaries of junior faculty from department funds.

    The physicist, who has been an MIT faculty member since 1960, says that these changes in the system were instituted without much debate. The new ideas "got a tremendous amount of support from the faculty," he says. "It was simply a matter of getting in there and seeing the things that could be done, and trying to implement them." While he is flattered that the institute is honoring him, he says, "We have to give credit to the whole university community" for the educational reforms.

    His popularity as department head notwithstanding, Friedman says he does not aspire to hold higher administrative posts. "One really has to want to do that sort of thing," he says. "I never felt it was my calling." He agreed to be department head when asked, he says, because he remembered the influence of past administrators and "felt it was time for me to do that job for others."

    Friedman received his A.B. (1950), M.S. (1953), and Ph.D. (1956) from the University of Chicago. He was a research associate at Chicago and at Stanford University before coming to MIT.

    --Barbara Spector

    Mary Hewitt Loveless, a pioneer in the treatment of allergies, died June 2 at her home in Westport, Conn. She was 92. Loveless, who retired as an associate professor of clinical medicine at New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center in 1964, specialized in pollen-induced disorders and life-threatening reactions to stinging insects.

    In the 1940s, Loveless developed the first venom-based injection to immunize people with potentially fatal allergies to bee stings. Loveless extracted the venom from bees and wasps she collected herself. Within a week of starting treatments, Loveless's patients would produce sufficient antibodies to protect them from a fatal reaction for a year.

    Loveless often demonstrated her immunization's effectiveness by deliberately stinging her patients with live bees or wasps after they had undergone a series of injections. Although Loveless first published her method in 1946 and used it successfully for several decades, it was considered dangerous by many physicians. The Food and Drug Administration did not approve a venom method of immunization until 1979.

    Loveless received her B.A. and M.D. degrees from Stanford University in 1921 and 1925, respectively. Following several years as a general practitioner in San Francisco, she joined the Roosevelt Hospital Allergy Clinic in New York as a research fellow in 1934. It was there that Loveless discovered the blocking antibody that reduces common allergy symptoms, her first pioneering discovery. In 1938, she joined the New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center. After her retirement in 1964, Loveless continued working as a private practitioner in Westport, Conn.

    Irvine H. Page, a former director of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and a pioneer in the study of cardiovascular diseases, died June 10 at his home in Hyannisport, Mass. He was 90 years old. Page was one of the first scientists to recognize that hypertension was a disease, and was treatable. In fact, in the early 1930s, when he was conducting his ground-breaking research, it was commonly believed that high blood pressure was a beneficial, compensatory response to atherosclerosis. In later work, Page developed the "mosaic" theory of hypertension, which recognized that, instead of being traceable to a single cause, high blood pressure resulted from complex interactions of many regulatory systems. Page also discovered angiotensin and serotonin, two hormones that influence blood pressure.

    Page earned his M.D. from Cornell Medical College in New York in 1926. Over the next two decades, he worked at several institutions. He joined the Cleveland Clinic Foundation as director of research in 1945, a position he held for the next 21 years. Page won many honors throughout his career, including a Gairdner Foundation Award in 1963 and a Passano Foundation Award in 1967.