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Optica Names Kramer Akli the 2024 Robert E. Hopkins Leadership Award Recipient

Optica is pleased to announce that Kramer Akli, Department of Energy, Office of Science, USA, has been selected as the 2024 recipient of the Robert E. Hopkins Leadership Award. Akli is honored for his leadership and vision in establishing North America's first high intensity laser research network, providing students and scientists worldwide with access to state of the art high power laser experimental facilities and photonics technologies.

Akli received his PhD from the University of California Davis, USA. While pursuing his PhD, he was awarded a fellowship to work at the prestigious Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Fueled by a passion for fusion and the boundless power of the sun, Akli found an unexpected connection between optics and fusion. It turned out that through intricate optical systems, including lasers with myriad components such as lenses, mirrors, crystals, and amplifier slabs, fusion can be studied in laboratory conditions.

He joined the U.S. Department of Energy, Fusion Energy Sciences program in 2016. Driven by a commitment to addressing gaps in laser technology, Akli responded to the National Academies' report titled "Opportunities in Intense Ultrafast Lasers." Recognizing the potential for a "second laser revolution," he founded LaserNetUS. This North America-based high-intensity laser network gained recognition, securing its place among the notable achievements of 2018 within the DOE enterprise. The network serves as a model for scientific disciplines and has spurred the creation of other networks like ZnetUS and MagNetUS. The network partners with Laserlab Europe, ELI facilities, and institutions across South America, and Australia, reflecting Kramer Akli's global commitment to advancing optics and lasers through collaborative efforts. Akli is an Optica Fellow.

Established in 1997 to help strengthen the link between the optics community and the public, the Hopkins Leadership Award recognizes an individual or group who has had a significant impact on the global optics and photonics community, or on society as a whole stemming from non-research oriented activities. The award was named in honor of Robert E. Hopkins in 2012, and is endowed by Milton Chang and New Focus.

About Optica

Optica, 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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