Nobel Laureate Nicolaas Bloembergen Opens CUNY-CAT Distinguished Lecturer Series At CCNY December 5

NEW YORK, November 17, 2005 – Nicolaas Bloembergen, 1981 Nobel Laureate in Physics, will deliver the first Distinguished Lecture on Advances in Photonics 3 p.m. Monday, December 5, in the Main Lecture Room, Steinman Hall, The City College of New York (CCNY). The lecture series is presented by the New York State Center for Advanced Technology in Photonics Applications (CUNY-CAT), located on the CCNY campus.

Dr. Bloembergen, along with Dr. Arthur L. Schawlow, received the Nobel Prize for their contributions to the development of laser spectroscopy, which involves the use of laser beams to obtain detailed information about molecular structure. He will talk on “Femtosecond Pulse Generation and Spectroscopy.”

“We are tremendously honored to have Dr. Bloembergen, one of the world’s leading authorities and pioneers in photonics, as our first Distinguished Lecturer,” said Dr. Robert R. Alfano, Director of CUNY-CAT and CUNY Distinguished Professor of Science and Engineering, who will introduce Dr. Bloembergen.

“This lecture series will showcase the latest advances in all aspects of photonics research through lectures by world leaders in the field,” Professor Alfano added. “It is aimed at CUNY faculty, staff and students, along with regional academic, industrial and government scientists, and is intended to serve as a catalyst for further research and development in this cutting edge discipline of the 21st Century.”

Dr. Bloembergen, Professor of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, is a global advisor to CCNY’s Institute for Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers, which Professor Alfano also heads. After Dr. Alfano and the late Dr. Stanley Shapiro discovered the supercontinuum in 1970, Dr. Bloembergen took an interest in its non-linear optical effects.

Born in Dordrecht, the Netherlands, Dr. Bloembergen obtained the degree of Phil. Drs., equivalent to an M.S. degree, from the University of Utrecht and a Ph.D. from the University of Leiden. Following World War II, he moved to the United States, where he began research work at Harvard University, where he was appointed associate professor in 1951 and professor in 1957. In 1990, he became professor emeritus.

Dr. Bloembergen served as President of the American Physical Society in 1991. Besides the Nobel Prize, his awards and honors include: The National Medal of Science, awarded by the President of the United States; the Lorentz Medal of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences ; the Medal of Honor of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Frederick Ives Medal of the Optical Society of America.

About the Distinguished Lecture Series

The lecture series was organized by CUNY-CAT in conjunction with the Photonics Initiative, a flagship emphasis program designated in the CUNY 2004-2008 Master Plan. Sponsors include: Corning Inc., Hamamatsu Corp., Lockheed Martin, Mediphotonics, Mediscience Technology Corp., Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy Program Management Office for Shipboard Systems. Steinman Hall is located at 140th Street and Convent Ave.


CUNY-CAT is one of 15 Centers for Advanced Technology at leading universities in New York State designed to bolster the state’s economy through collaboration with industry on applied research. The CUNY-CAT was recently re-designated by New York State’s Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR) for a second decade, receiving a $10 million grant over ten years. Since its inception in 1993, Dr. Alfano has headed CUNY-CAT.

The Center has been a pioneer in minimally or non-invasive optical techniques for cancer detection; optical detection of cracks and corrosion of paint on aircraft wings; bacteria and virus detection for Homeland Defense; and the Compact Photonic Explorer, a “photonics pill” in development that can perform remote diagnostics from inside the body and send information back to doctors.

Companies that have partnered with CUNY-CAT include: Alcoa, Applied Nanoworks, Con Edison, Corning, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Mediphotonics, Mediscience Technology Corp., Northrop Grumman, Pfizer, Photonics Industries, and Quantronix. The Center has also partnered on research efforts with the NY State Center of Excellence in Infotonics, located in Rochester.

Contact: Ellis Simon, 212/650-6460,