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Drexel University to Honor Creator of Laser Technology at 2013 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science Symposium

March 28, 2013

Drexel University and The Franklin Institute will honor Dr. Kenichi Iga, Emeritus Professor and Past President of the Tokyo Institute of Technology and winner of the 2013 Bower Award for Achievement in Science at the Symposium, “Photonic Source Technologies: Surface Emitting Semiconductor Lasers” on Wednesday, April 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Mitchell Auditorium. Drexel University and the Franklin Institute will honor Iga for creating one of the world's major technological breakthroughs that impacts society every day — the vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser, or VCSEL for short. VCSELs are found in laser printers, pointers, the scanner in the supermarket checkout line, high-speed data networks, data storage devices, and even the optical computer mouse on their desktop. All of these technologies are made possible by small and efficient semiconductor lasers that Iga first proposed in 1977.

“Professor Iga in 1970’s proposed totally against the general wisdom for development of a vertical cavity diode lasers as opposed to horizontally oriented and persisted over a decade to eventually realize on at room temperature. Many new technologies had to be developed, such as micro-resonators and superlattics, before VCSEL could be realized. His tenacity and accurate prediction are key elements for a successful researcher and he is a role model for academic research, as a truly outstanding researcher that his contribution has led to many new scientific and technical applications.” said, Dr. Afshin Daryoush, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and presenter of the 2013 Bower Award for Achievement in Science.

The Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science recognizes the significance of Iga's dedicated work that has provided the solid foundation for today's generation of advanced VCSELs for various applications. Iga is considered not merely the “father” of the VCSEL, but the “grandfather,” establishing the overwhelming importance and primacy of his pioneering work pursued, while others overlooked this important innovation.

At the Symposium, Iga will lecture on VCSEL’s and how this idea was developed. In addition, attendees will hear remarks from Drexel University President, John Fry and Dennis Wint the President of The Franklin Institute, where the oldest cash prize in science resides. Technical presentations covering many issues relevant to optical source development are to be discussed by expert faculty members across the country.

The Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science was established in 1990 through a bequest from Philadelphia chemical manufacturer and philanthropist Henry Bower. The award, a gold medal and cash prize of $250,000, is presented annually to a distinguished member of the international scientific community for work in a prescribed discipline that changes each year.

For more information about this event, please click here. To learn more about 2013 Bower Award for Achievement in Science and its past recipients, please click here.