Gerard Mourou, Guest of Honor at our Annual Gala 2019 appointed Officer of the Legion of Honor!

Chapter News | January 02, 2020

2 months after the edition 2019 of our Annual Gala, our guest of honor Gerard Mourou was promoted Officer (Officier) of The Legion of Honor on January 1, 2020!

Professor Gérard Mourou was the founding Director of the Center for Ultrafast Optical Science at the University of Michigan. For 40 years, Mourou has pioneered the field of ultrafast lasers and their applications in scientific, engineering and medical disciplines. He is also the initiator of the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) in Europe. With his student Donna Strickland, he is the inventor of the Chirped Pulses Amplification (CPA) technique which allowed for amplifying ultrashort laser pulses to very high optical powers (presently Petawatt) with the laser pulse being stretched out temporally and spectrally prior to amplification.

He has been the recipient of the Wood Prize from The Optical Society, the Edgerton Prize from the SPIE, the Sarnoff Prize from the IEEE, the 2004 IEEE/LEOS Quantum Electronics Award, 2005 Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics, the 2009 Charles Hard Townes Award, the 2016 Berthold Leibinger Zukunftspreis, and the 2016 Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus Quinn Prize.

He is a Fellow of The Optical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Professor Mourou is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Currently, he is Distinguished Professor Emeritus from the University of Michigan and the Ecole Polytechnique in Palaiseau France.

On 2 October 2018, Mourou was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, along with Donna Strickland, for their work on chirped pulse amplification. Mourou and Strickland found that stretching a laser out reduced its peak power, which could then be greatly amplified using normal instruments. Mourou and Strickland shared half of the Prize while the other half was awarded to Arthur Ashkin.

(Abstract from the Optical Society)