National Medal of Science
For foundational contributions to photonics and quantum electronics, including his demonstration of the semiconductor distributed feedback laser that underpins todays high-speed optical fiber communications.
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BirthJanuary 1, 1930
Country of BirthIsrael
Key ContributionsHigh Speed Optical Data Transfer
Awarded byBarack Obama
EducationUniversity of California, Berkeley
Areas of ImpactCommunication & Information
AffiliationsCalifornia Institute of Technology
Amnon Yariv was always fascinated with light waves -- “learning how to generate them, manipulate them, and make them play new 'games,'” he told a California Institute of Technology interviewer in 2010, when he was being presented with the National Medal of Science.
Yariv, a longtime Caltech professor, has done ground-breaking research and developed mathematical theories to describe the energy exchange among light waves. Along the way Yariv became one of the world’s foremost authorities in optoelectronics.
Through research with colleagues and students, he has developed and demonstrated optoelectronic integrated circuits, the distributed feedback semiconductor laser, and coupled-resonator optical waveguide. Yariv’s research is been instrumental in high-speed optical fiber communications.
Research and development of lasers by Yariv has increased the bandwith – and ability to carry data -- of fiber optic networks.
Yariv received a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1958. From there he joined Bell Laboratories before becoming a member of the Caltech faculty in 1964, teaching physics and electrical engineering.
He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.
By Robert Warren