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OSA | Living History

Rick Trebino

OSA Awards & Distinctions

Rick Trebino received his B.A. from Harvard in 1977 and his Ph.D. from Stanford in 1983. After spending twelve years at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California, USA, he accepted a Chair in Ultrafast Optical Physics at Georgia Tech, where he currently studies ultrafast optics, specifically pulse measurement, and optics education. He has received numerous prizes for his research and is a Fellow of the OSA, APS, AAAS, and SPIE. 

Inspired by the interesting fact that science’s greatest discoveries have resulted directly from more powerful light-measurement techniques, Rick Trebino’s 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 (FROG), the first technique—and still the gold standard—for measuring arbitrary ultrashort pulses in time. His more recent inventions measure the complete spatiotemporal pulse electric field.

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


Document Created: 3 Feb 2020
Last Updated: 3 Feb 2020