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Michal Lipson

Columbia University, USA

Photo of Michal Lipson
Awards & Distinctions

Michal Lipson is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering and Professor of Applied Physics at Columbia University. Lipson pioneered critical building blocks in the field of Silicon Photonics, which today is recognized as one of the most promising directions for solving the major bottlenecks in microelectronics.  In 2004, she showed the ability to tailor the electro-optic properties of silicon, which led to the explosion of silicon photonics research and development. The number of publications related to silicon photonic devices and systems is now more than 50,000 a year. A large fraction of these publications are based on Lipson’s original papers published since 2001. Today, more than one thousand papers published yearly involve devices and circuits based on Lipson’s original modulators, or based on other silicon photonics devices demonstrated by her group, including slot waveguides and inverse tapers.  Her papers (over 250 refereed journal publications) have been cited more than 40,000 times. She is also the inventor on over 45 issued patents. Lipson has delivered hundreds of invited, keynote and plenary lectures in all the major conferences in optics and related fields.

Lipson received her Ph.D. in physics at the Technion in 1998. Following a postdoctoral position at MIT in the Material Science department from 1998 to 2001, she joined the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University and was named the Given Foundation Professor of Engineering at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2012. In 2015, she joined Columbia University, where she is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering. 

Lipson was Optica President in 2023 and has held several leadership positions in the scientific community.  She has also co-organized numerous symposia and sessions during Optica conferences and was the general co-chair of CLEO (Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics) in 2019. 

She is an Optica Fellow and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and to the American Academy of Arts Sciences (AAAS) for her work in silicon photonics. She has received several awards and honors including the R. W. Wood Prize, the NAS Comstock Prize in Physics, the MacArthur Fellowship, the Blavatnik Award, and the IEEE Photonics Award. She is the first woman to win the John Tyndall Award.

She also received an honorary degree from Trinity College, University of Dublin. Since 2014, she has been named every year by Thomson Reuters as a top 1% highly cited researcher in the field of Physics. She currently serves on the board of directors for two international photonics centers and three start-up companies and is a member of the external evaluation board for two academic institutions. She is a co-founder of PicoLuz, a company specializing in nonlinear silicon photonic components, and of Voyant, a company developing next-generation Lidar technology based on silicon photonics.

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