Herwig Kogelnik

The 2001 IEEE Medal of Honor recipient is recognized for his pioneering research and leadership in developing lasers and optoelectronics

14 min read
Herwig Kogelnik

Vital Statistics

Name: Herwig Kogelnik

Date of birth: 2 June, 1932, in Graz, Austria

Family: wife, Christa; sons Christoph, Florian, and Andreas

Present position: adjunct photonics systems research vice president, Bell Laboratories

Education: Dipl. Ing., 1955, and doctor of technology, 1958, in electrical engineering from the Vienna University of Technology; D.Phil. in physics from Oxford University, England, 1960

Patents: 34, four still active

Hero: Karl Jansky, founder of radioastronomy

Favorite composers: "Several. Georg Phillip Telemann and Handel are certainly near the top."

Favorite movie: Four Feathers

Last book read: God's Equation: Einstein, Relativity, and the Expanding Universe, by Amir D. Aczel

Leisure activities: tennis (former president of the Seabright Lawn Tennis and Cricket Club), skiing, swimming, hiking, paddle tennis

Memberships: Fellow of the IEEE, Optical Society of America, National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences

Awards: Frederic Ives Medal, Optical Society of America, 1984; David Sarnoff Award, IEEE, 1989; Joseph Johann Ritter von Prechtl Medal, Vienna University of Technology, 1990; Quantum Electronics Award, IEEE Lasers and Electro Optics Society, 1991

Herwig Kogelnik stands in a cramped closet in a Bell Laboratories research building, surrounded by file cabinets and cardboard boxes full of paper. Having pushed an office chair weighed down by yet another box out into the hallway, he's got room to stand before an open file drawer and go through its contents. He's been at it for maybe 15 minutes, trying to pull out only the highlights of his 40-year career.

"Boy, was I in so many things?" he mutters to himself. "This is amazing."

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