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Optica Names Norbert F. Scherer the 2022 C.E.K. Mees Medal Recipient

Optica (formerly OSA) is pleased to announce that Norbert F. Scherer, University of Chicago, USA, has been selected as the 2022 recipient of the C.E.K. Mees Medal. Scherer is honored for his seminal contributions to optical science by developing novel methods and applications in ultrafast nonlinear spectroscopy, single molecule microscopy, nanoplasmonics, optical vector beam spectroscopy, and optical trapping, optical matter and nano-machines.

Norbert F. Scherer received his BS degree from the University of Chicago, USA, and his PhD from California Institute of Technology, USA. He was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow and is currently a Professor of Chemistry, both at the University of Chicago.

Scherer’s research accomplishments in optical sciences span many fields from single molecule biophysics to ultrafast chemical reaction dynamics to optical physics. His graduate research with Ahmed Zewail founded the field of “Femtochemistry,” and his postdoctoral research on controlling optical phase is the basis for modern 2-dimensional optical and infrared ultrafast spectroscopies. He first demonstrated simultaneous nanometer and femtosecond space-time-resolved electron dynamics on metal surfaces. He was also the first to demonstrate super-resolution localization of multiple single-molecule fluorophores and optically trap and orientationally control single plasmonic nanoparticles. He and a team of co-workers developed a dual-beam interferometric optical trapping method to enable in-situ coherent X-ray diffraction from nanowires in solution. His current focus is controlling "non-reciprocal" forces as an outgrowth of his pioneering work on nanoparticle-based optical matter and creation of stochastic optical matter machines, and optical magnetism in meta-atom materials.

He has mentored more than 35 graduate students and 40 postdoctoral students, and published over 200 papers. He is Fellow of Optica and the American Physical Society. He has received the Peter Debye Prize, the Department of Defense Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator, the David and Lucile Packard Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation National Young Investigator.

Established in 1961, the Mees Medal recognizes an original use of optics across multiple fields. It honors the memory of C.E.K Mees who contributed preeminently to the development of scientific photography, and was a charter member of Optica (then OSA). The medal was endowed by the Mees family.

About Optica

Optica (formerly OSA), Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, is the society dedicated to promoting the generation, application, archiving and dissemination of knowledge in the field. Founded in 1916, it is the leading organization for scientists, engineers, business professionals, students and others interested in the science of light. Optica’s renowned publications, meetings, online resources and in-person activities fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate scientific, technical and educational achievement.

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