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The Romance of Photonic Lattices and Ham

By James Van Howe | Posted: 5 May 2011

This year’s CLEO plenary sessions were exceptional. Monday evening hosted talks by Donald Keck, who pioneered the first low-loss optical fiber and James Fujimoto, renown for developing optical coherence tomography. Wednesday morning’s plenary followed with exhilarating work (I’m serious, not just blogger hyperbole here) on photonic crystals. Even the awards were exciting. Amnon Yariv, responsible for the creation of the distributed feedback laser, and whose book “Optical Electronics in Modern Communication,” I safeguard as one of the most helpful optics texts on my shelf, was presented with the 2011 IEEE Photonics Award. In his acceptance speech, he spoke briefly of his emigration to the United States from Israel 60 years ago. The freighter that carried him, other passengers, and iron ore across the Atlantic, made entry in none other than the city of Baltimore. Yariv, reminisced about his first meal after landing in a gritty, industrial, 1950s Baltimore-a ham sandwich (his first ever)!

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