Kerry J. Vahala, assistant professor of applied physics and a specialist in quantum electronics and lasers at the California Institute of Technology, has been chosen as the first recipient of the Richard P. Feynman-Hughes Fellowship.

Sponsored by the Los Angeles-based Hughes Aircraft Co., the fellowship is named after the late Richard P. Feynman, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 for his theory of quantum electrodynamics and was also a Caltech faculty member and consultant to Hughes. Accompanied by a stipend of $30,000, the fellowship is designed to provide research support to a young faculty member in Caltech's Division of Engineering and Applied Science. Candidates are nominated by faculty of the division, and final selection is made by the division chairman and a Hughes executive involved with the program.

Vahala, 31, has focused his research on the quantum mechanical limits of semiconductor lasers and has developed a theory...

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