Husband and Wife Team

Husband and Wife Team

By Technion OSA Student Chapter


On the 25th of January 2016, the Technion OSA chapter hosted Professor Margaret Murnane and Professor Henry Keptyn, ultrafast science pioneers and it was a huge success and all thanks to the Traveling Lecturer Program. 



In her talk, Margaret started with a broad overview of ultrafast science. For those unfamiliar with this large (but still growing) field, it was an excellent introduction to the fast-pace world where events are measured in femtoseconds. Margaret framed the picture and gave an outline of the big concepts, which was especially important for the presence of many students and non-optics professors in the audience. We managed to keep the atmosphere casual, which allowed for a rather free exchange of questions and answers, which allowed Margaret to clarify some key technical issues in the 3 step model and in phase matching.

The real treat, however, was for those more experienced with ultrafast science - Margaret Murnane (and her husband, Henry Kapetyn) from Boulder, are household names who we've seen in papers more than once or twice. For those researchers, Margaret's talk provided an intriguing insight on the field and especially on future directions and projects her team is now undertaking. It was an extremely intriguing talk, which provoked discussions in audience later on at the event. Essentially the questions Margaret's team is facing is how to use ultrafast laser technology, which is now well established, to solve problems. The challenge therefore being not only to develop the laser but also to explore new problems occurring at the ultrafast scale, such as magnetization or heat diffusion in nanostructures.

Of course, Technion researchers took this chance to present some of their research to Henry and Margaret. Specifically, they had significant interaction with members of Professor Oren Cohen's group, who have shared research interests. In this regard, we made sure that Henry and Margaret would not only meet professors, but also students and specifically the OSA chapter members. This was a unique opportunity for all those involved to meet, discuss and present their own work to scientific leaders of the field.

In addition to the technical talk, the OSA chapter officers convinced Margaret and Henry to extend their stay for a graduate-student-only nontechnical session. This was thought to supplement the great talk by Margaret and provide some insights and valuable life lessons about academic life. The audience consisted of about 20 PhD students in advanced stages of their degree who wanted to hear more about academic research from Margaret and Henry's viewpoint. The session was framed as a "questions and answers" session, but in actuality it was a "questions, answers and discussion" session - Margaret and Henry had many thoughts and tips to share and generated an extremely friendly atmosphere, with the conversation flowing rather smoothly. The topics discussed were quite varied. We heard on how to look for PhD or post-doc supervisors, on how to pick research topics, on how to balance research topics and many other critical, but rarely discussed, topics. In addition, the session gave a valuable peek into the research culture in the US, where many of the world's leading research establishments are located. Overall, the seminar was very successful and we heartily recommend future event organizer to schedule similar seminars\panels.

Posted: 12 April 2016 by Technion OSA Student Chapter | with 0 comments