10 February 2020

The Optical Society Names Toshiki Tajima the 2020 Charles Hard Townes Award Winner

Inventor of laser electron acceleration recognized for pioneering contributions

WASHINGTON—The Optical Society (OSA) is pleased to announce that the 2020 Charles Hard Townes Award will be presented to Toshiki Tajima, University of California Irvine, USA. Tajima is recognized for seminal contributions in broad and novel plasma physics and laser-based accelerator physics, introducing the concept of Laser Wakefield Acceleration.

“Toshiki Tajima is a worthy recipient of the Charles Hard Townes Award,” 2020 OSA President Stephen D. Fantone, founder and president of the Optikos Corporation. “His exceptional work in fundamental, laser and plasma physics, and medical applications of physics is world-renowned.”

Toshiki Tajima received his Master’s degree in Physics from University of Tokyo, Japan and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California Irvine, USA. He is the Norman Rostoker Chair Professor at the University of California at Irvine, and the Deputy Director of IZEST. He served as Chair of APS Subdivision of Plasma Astrophysics and ICUIL. He is the former Director General of Kansai Photon Science Institute and the Jane and Roland Blumberg Professor at Univ. of Texas at Austin.

Tajima suggested in 1979 the theory of the formation of a wakefield behind an ultra-short intense laser pulse and its subsequent acceleration of particles to high energies.  This concept spurred the creation of the High Field Science. He was among the first in a team that demonstrated wakefield acceleration experimentally. Its applications include the compact generation of high-energy electrons, ions, and X-rays on ultrafast time scales and cancer therapy. His awards include the Wilson Prize, Alfven Prize, Chandrasekhar Prize and Fermi Prize.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Charles Hard Townes Award, which recognizes an individual or group for outstanding experimental or theoretical work, discovery or invention in the field of quantum electronics. The medal honors Charles Hard Townes, whose pioneering contributions to masers and lasers led to the development of the field of quantum electronics. Bell Laboratories, Hewlett-Packard, The Perkin Fund and students and colleagues of Charles Townes endow the award.

About The Optical Society

Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders 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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