Distinguished Traveling Lecturer Program

The Division of Laser Science (DLS) of the American Physical Society announces the continuance of its sponsorship of a lecture program in Laser Science. Lecturers will visit selected academic institutions for two days, during which time they will give a public lecture open to the entire academic community and meet informally with students and faculty. They may also give guest lectures in classes related to Laser Science. The purpose of the program is to bring distinguished scientists to primarily undergraduate colleges and universities in order to convey the excitement of Laser Science to undergraduate students.

DTL Program Feedback

The Distinguished Traveling Lecturer Program is interested in hearing all questions and comments concerning the program. All questions or comments concerning guidelines and applications should be directed toward Rainer Grobe, the DTL Committee chair.

Current Lecturers


Anthony Johnson

Ultrafast Optical Phenomena
University of Maryland Baltimore County
Professor of Physics
Professor of Computer Science & Electrical Engineering
Director, Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research

Research Areas:
Ultrafast photophysics and nonlinear optical properties of bulk, nanostructured and quantum well semiconductor structures, ultrashort pulse propagation in fibers and high-speed lightwave systems.

Selected Career Highlights:
Ph.D., City College of NY with fellowship support from Bell Laboratories, 1981. Fellow of the AAAS (1996), APS (1995), IEEE (2000), National Society of Black Physicists (1992) and OSA (1991). Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories and Chair of the Physics Department at New Jersey Institute of Technology (1995-2003). 1990 Program Co-Chair and 1992 General Co-Chair of CLEO. Editor-in-Chief of Optics Letters (1995-2001) and 2002 President of the OSA. Member, APS DLS Executive Committee (11-14), APS Executive Board (13-14), Founding Editorial Board Member of Physical Review X (11-18), Chair of the APS Bridge Program’s National Advisory Board (15-18) and member of the APS Nominating Committee (16-18).

Luis Orozco

Quantum Optics
University of Maryland
Professor, Department of Physics

Research Areas:
Quantum Optics and Francium Spectroscopy

Career & Research Highlights:
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 1987. Quantum Optics studies the coherence and statistical properties of light and how they change as it interacts with atoms. His experimental work is in Quantum Optics and Cavity Quantum Electrodynamics (QED). Francium Spectroscopy probes the structure of the heaviest alkali metal atom using laser light.

David Reitze

David Reitze

Gravitational-wave Detection
Executive Director
LIGO Laboratory
California Institute of Technology

Research Areas:
Gravitational-wave detection, gravitational-wave astrophysics, precision interferometry and measurement, high power continuous wave lasers, laser stabilization, design/construction/operation of the initial and Advanced LIGO and interferometers.

Selected Career Highlights:
Ph. D. in Physics University of Texas Austin (1990), Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar (1996), Fellow of the American Physical Society (2006), Fellow of the Optical Society of America (2015), National Academy of Sciences Award for Scientific Discovery (2017). LIGO Scientific Collaboration awards include the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics (2016), Gruber Prize for Cosmology (2016), and the Princess Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Achievement (2017).

Antoinette (Toni) Taylor

Antoinette (Toni) Taylor

Ultrafast Dynamical Processes
Deputy Associate Director
Chemistry, Life & Earth Sciences
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Research Areas:
Ultrafast dynamical processes in complex and nanoscale materials, including spin-charge-lattice interactions in quantum materials, electromagnetic metamaterials, and the development of spatially and temporally local probes.

Selected Career Highlights:
Antoinette (Toni) Taylor is currently the Deputy Associate Director for Chemistry, Life and Earth Sciences at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), as well as the LANL Point of Contact for the Department of Energy, Basic Energy Sciences (DOE-BES) Division of Materials Science and Engineering. She received her B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from Stanford University where she was a Hertz Foundation pre-doctoral and doctoral Fellow. At LANL, she has served as the Director of the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, a joint Sandia/LANL nanoscience center funded through DOE BES and as the Leader of the Materials Physics and Applications Division. Her research interests include ultrafast dynamical processes in complex and nanoscale materials, including spin-charge-lattice interactions in quantum materials, electromagnetic metamaterials, and the development of spatially and temporally local probes. Taylor is the author or co-author of over 350 peer-reviewed articles resulting from this research. In service of the American Physical Society (APS), Taylor has chaired the Division of Laser Science, the APS Laser Science Conference, the Frank Isakson Prize Committee and the Marie Goeppert-Mayer Award Committee. Currently, she is a member of the APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA). More broadly in the scientific community, she has served as a Director-at-Large of the Optical Society of America (OSA), a topical editor of the Journal of the Optical Society B: Optical Physics, a member of the Solid State Sciences Committee, Board of Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies, chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Ultrafast Phenomena in Cooperative Systems, and chair of the OSA conferences on Ultrafast Phenomena and Nonlinear Optics. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America and American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as a Fellow of Los Alamos National Laboratory. Taylor was awarded won the inaugural Los Alamos Fellow’s Prize for Outstanding Leadership in Science and Engineering.

Ralph Jimenez

Ralph Jimenez

Fellow of JILA
JILA/NIST and University of Colorado

Research Areas:
Laser spectroscopy of condensed phase chemical and biophysical dynamics, including solvent dynamics, ultrafast x-ray absorption and diffraction, nonlinear optical spectroscopy of biomolecules, and laser-based microfluidic flow cytometry methods for the directed evolution of fluorescent proteins. More information »

Selected Career Highlights:
B.S. Cornell University, 1991; PhD, University of Chicago, 1996; Fellow of JILA since 2003. Member of APS DLS Executive Committee, 2013-2015; United States Department of Commerce Bronze Medal, 2016; Arthur S. Flemming Award, 2017; United States Department of Commerce Gold Medal, 2017

Felicie Albert

Deputy Director for the Center for High Energy Density Science
Lawrence Livermore National Lab

Research Areas:
High Intensity Laser Science and Applications, Laser-plasma acceleration, High Energy Density Science

Career & Research Highlights: 

PhD, Ecole Polytechnique, France, in 2007. Currently director of the Jupiter Laser Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and former chair of LaserNetUS, a network of high power laser facilities in North America. Areas of expertise include the generation and applications of novel sources of electrons, x-rays and gamma-rays through laser-plasma interaction, laser-wakefield acceleration, and Compton scattering. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2019, and 2016 DOE Early Career Research Program Award to develop new x-ray sources for high energy density science experiments. Recipient of the 2017 American Physical Society (APS) Katherine E. Weimer Award for outstanding contributions to plasma science research and of the 2017 Edouard Fabre Prize for contributions to the physics of laser-produced plasmas. Elected a Fellow of the APS (Division of Plasma Physics) in 2019, a National Academy of Sciences Kavli Fellow in 2020 and a Fellow of Optica (formerly OSA) in 2023.

Mengjie Yu

University of Southern California

Research Areas:
Nanophotonics, nonlinear and quantum photonics

Career & Research Highlights:

Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Cornell University (2018), Optica Ambassador (2020), DARPA Young Investigator Award (2023), CalTech Young Investigator Lecturer (2019), Maiman Award (2016) and Emil Wolf Award (2016). Her research work focuses on advancing the fundamental understanding of nonlinear sciences at nanoscale, as well as realize next-generation optoelectronic circuits for optical communication, computing, sensing, ranging and metrology.

David Wineland

University of Oregon and NIST

Research Areas:
Quantum Information Science

Thomas Searles

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University of Illinois in Chicago

Research Areas:
Quantum Engineering, quantum materials, light-matter interaction

Career & Research Highlights 

Inaugural winner of the AIP/NSBP Joseph A. Johnson Award for Excellence, NSF CAREER Award, co-founder of the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center


  • The Division of Laser Science (DLS) will be responsible for the travel expenses and honorarium of the lecturer.
  • The host institution will be responsible for the local expenses of the lecturer and for advertising the public lecture.
  • Recommendations to the DLS chair for host institutions will be made by the Selection Committee after consulting with the lecturers.
  • Priority will be given to those institutions that do not have extensive resources for similar programs.
  • DLS membership is encouraged for applicants.
  • One may sign up for DLS membership through the APS website
  • The application deadlines occur twice a year: May 30 and November 30, for proposed visits roughly six-twelve months in the future.
  • We cannot guarantee an applicant's first choice of speaker and time, since there is competition within the program.
  • Ordinarily, DTL visits to an institution should be three years apart.

Ideas For Visits

  • The public lecture should be given a flashy, popular title. It should be identified in advertisements as "for the General Public," or similar.
  • Visual aides (eg. photos, professional quality slides or viewgraphs, etc.) and analogies, stories, etc., should be used effectively by the DTL.
  • Have the lecturer send a reading list of accessible papers for students to look at ahead of time.
  • Have a session for students called "What is it like to be a research scientist?" or "Graduate School and Beyond, the Future for Physics," etc.
  • A past lecturer (Ron Shen) presented a special talk for undergrads titled "The Simple Ideas behind the Nobel Prizes in Laser Science."
  • Free-form discussions with groups of undergraduate and graduate students might be difficult to pull off. It is better to have structured topics. Example — a guest lecture in a class related to Laser Science.
  • Lunch with students might be a good idea to provide an informal meeting without pressure.


Former Distinguished Traveling Lecturer Dr. James Kafka is a noted senior scientist at Spectra-Physics. He has led development on many cutting edge laser technologies such as the Millennia X lasers shown here.


The application deadlines occur twice a year: May 30 and November 30, for proposed visits roughly six-twelve months in the future.

We cannot guarantee an applicant's first choice of speaker and time, since there is competition within the program. Ordinarily, DTL visits to an institution should be three years apart.

Please E-mail Your Application To:

Rainer Grobe, the DTL Committee chair, and also to Juliet Gopinath, the DLS Secretary-Treasurer.

In Your Application

  1. Please provide details on your geographical location and on your normal seminar schedule and budget, and explain whether these are limiting factors in your ability to bring in top level speakers on your own.
  2. Please clarify that there will be a public lecture to a lay audience and a separate talk of some type in the department. Please explain ways by which you will advertise the lectures to a wide audience.
  3. Please provide details on the size and nature of your institution, your undergraduate major's program, your graduate program (if offered), and the number of faculty and students who are likely to interact in different ways with the visitor.
  4. Please provide a tentative (model) 2-day schedule, showing intended visits with faculty, students or student groups, classes, receptions, dinners, lunches with students (these are only examples of possible activities, but ones which we believe are useful). There needs to be a "full" schedule of intense interactions planned out for their visits, so that the DTLs will be productive during their visit.
  5. If your application involves more than one department or institution, please provide name and email address of a contact person at the other unit, and details of the interaction.
  6. Please indicate whether your department has had a DTL visitor before.
  7. Please provide a rank-ordered list of all DTLs that are of interest for your institution.


Former Distinguished Traveling Lecturer Dr. Eric Cornell is a professor of physics at Colorado and a JILA scientist. He helped discover the Bose-Einstein condensate, for which he received the Nobel prize in 2001.