26 March 2019

The Optical Society Names Rick Trebino the 2019 Esther Hoffman Beller Medal Recipient

Honoree is recognized for pioneering educational optics practices, including the only textbook on ultrashort-pulse measurement

WASHINGTON—The Optical Society (OSA) is pleased to name Rick Trebino, Georgia Institute of Technology, U.S.A., the recipient of the 2019 Esther Hoffman Beller Medal. Trebino is recognized for pioneering educational optics practices, including the only textbook on ultrashort-pulse measurement, innovative short courses, and the creation of high-quality graduate and undergraduate optics lectures that are shared freely with students and instructors worldwide.


“The ability to truly engage students in the study of optical sciences requires a creative mind like Rick Trebino’s,” says 2019 OSA President Ursula Gibson. “That his lectures are often translated into other languages demonstrates the global reach of his pioneering teaching methods and is further proof that he is rightly bestowed the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal.”

Trebino received his B.A. from Harvard University, U.S.A., in 1977, and his Ph.D. from Stanford University, U.S.A., in 1983. After spending 12 years at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California, U.S.A., he accepted a chair in Ultrafast Optical Physics at Georgia Tech where he studies ultrafast optics, specifically pulse measurement and optics education. Trebino has received numerous prizes for his research. He is a Fellow of OSA, the American Physical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science and SPIE. 

His award-winning research involves developing techniques for measuring light with ever shorter and more complex ultrafast temporal and microscopic spatial variations. He is best known for frequency-resolved optical gating, the first technique—and still the gold standard—for measuring arbitrary ultrashort pulses in time. Trebino’s recent inventions measure the complete spatiotemporal pulse electric field.

Frustrated by “chalk-and-talk”- style lectures when he was a student, Trebino utilizes the Power Point software program to create lecture materials with detailed drawings, pictures, animations and movies to make complex ideas easier to understand. His colorful and informative lectures have been shared with professors, teachers and students all over the world. They have also been translated into several languages including Spanish, French and Chinese.

Established in 1993, the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal is presented for outstanding contributions to education in optical science and engineering. It is endowed by a bequest from the estate of Esther Hoffman Beller.

About The Optical Society
Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and entrepreneurs who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit osa.org.

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