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


Hui Cao

Yale University
Professor of Applied Physics and Physics

Research Areas:
Random Lasers, Mesoscopic Transport of Photons, Semiconductor Microcavity Lasers, Ultraviolet Photonic Crystals.

Selected Career Highlights:
Ph.D. Stanford University, 1997. Fellow of American Physical Society (2007), Fellow of Optical Society of America (2007), Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award from American Physical Society (2006), Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2005), Outstanding Young Researcher Award from Overseas Chinese Physics Association (2004), National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2001), Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (2000), David and Lucile Packard Fellow (1999).


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).


Carlos Stroud

University of Rochester
Professor, Department of Physics
Professor, Institute of Optics

Research Areas:
Quantum optics: quantum information theory, atomic physics, and nonlinear optics. Rydberg atomic electron wave packets; multilevel quantum logic; generation of quantum states of light via electromagnetically induced transparency; and entanglement and teleportation of macroscopic states of matter.

Selected Career Highlights:
A.B. degree in Physics and Mathematics from Centre College, Ph.D. in Physics from Washington University, 1969. He is currently Professor of Optics and Professor of Physics, and Director of the Center for Quantum Information, fellow of Optical Society of America and the American Physical Society, lectured in more than 75 different universities.

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.

Ron Walsworth

Founding Director, Quantum Technology Center
University of Maryland
Minta Martin Professor, University of Maryland, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics

Research Areas:
Application of atomic physics techniques -- from astrophysics to nanoscience to biomedical imaging.

Selected Career Highlights:
B.S. in Physics, Duke University,1984, Ph.D. in Physics, Harvard University, 1991. Fellow of American Physical Society (2001). Francis Pipkin Award from American Physical Society (2005). Co-discoverer of the light storage technique using electromagnetically induced transparency. Development of astro-combs to aid discovery of Earth-like planets around other stars; precision spin measurements and magnetometry using Nitrogen Vacancy centers in diamond; precise tests of physical laws and symmetries using atomic clocks; and biomedical and materials science investigations using MRI of hyperpolarized noble gas and nanoparticles.


Linda Young

Atomic Physics
Argonne National Laboratory
Distinguished Argonne Fellow, Chemistry Division
Group Leader - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics

Research Areas:
Ultrafast x-ray probes of atoms and molecules in strong-laser fields; strong-field control of x-ray processes; applications of x-ray free electron lasers.

Selected Career Highlights:
S.B. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1976, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1991. Fellow American Physical Society, Associate Editor, Applied Physics Letters. The response of atoms and molecules to strong-laser fields is observed with ultrafast x-rays from accelerator-based facilities. This provides an atomic scale visualization of the motion of electrons and the response of the molecular framework to controlled laser fields. Applications include x-ray imaging of non-crystalline objects.

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


  • 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.
  • Applications should be submitted by members of DLS.
  • 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.
  • Dr. Carlos Stroud's research specializes in quantum optics. This picture represents a circular-orbit wave packet.

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.


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 Rohit Prasankumar, 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.