Emil Wolf

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Emil Wolf
Born (1922-07-30) July 30, 1922 (age 94)
Prague, Czechoslovakia
Residence United States
United Kingdom
Citizenship United States
Nationality Czech, American
Fields Physicist
Institutions University of Edinburgh
University of Manchester
University of Rochester
Alma mater Bristol University
Doctoral advisor Edward H. Linfoot
Other academic advisors Max Born
Doctoral students

Kenro Miyamoto
Yutaka Kano
Chandra Lal Mehta
Demosthenes Dialetis
Gabriel Bédard
Girish Agarwal
Éamon Lalor
Ashok Kumar Jaiswal
Deva Pattanayak
Anthony J. Devaney
Mandyam D Srinivas
John T. Foley
M. Suhail Zubairy
Ari T. Friberg
Alexander Starikov
Kisik Kim
Avshalom Gamliel
Brian Cairns
Daniel F. V. James
Weijian Wang
Marek W. Kowarz
David G. Fischer
P. Scott Carney
Gregory J Gbur
Sergey A. Ponomarenko
Hema Roychowdhury

Mayukh Lahiri
Known for Coherence Theory
Wolf effect
Notable awards Frederic Ives Medal (1978)
Michelson Medal (1980)
Max Born Award (1987)
Marconi Medal (1987)
An example of a signature of Dr. Emil Wolf

Emil Wolf (born July 30, 1922) is a Czech born American physicist who made advancements in physical optics, including diffraction, coherence properties of optical fields, spectroscopy of partially coherent radiation, and the theory of direct scattering and inverse scattering. He is also the author of several works on optics.

Life and career[edit]

Wolf was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He was forced to leave his native country when the Germans invaded; After brief periods in Italy and France (where he worked for the Czech government in exile), he came to the United Kingdom in 1940. He received his B.Sc. in Mathematics and Physics (1945), and PhD in Mathematics from Bristol University, England, in 1948. Between 1951 and 1954 he worked at the University of Edinburgh with Max Born, writing the famous text-book on Optics now usually known simply as 'Born and Wolf'. After a period on the Faculty of the University of Manchester, he moved to the United States in 1959 to take a position at the University of Rochester. He is currently (2012) the Wilson Professor of Optical Physics at the University of Rochester. He is a naturalized US citizen. He was president of the Optical Society of America in 1978.[1] Wolf now resides in Cloverwood in Pittsford, New York, with his wife.

He also predicted a new mechanism that produces redshift and blueshift, that is not due to moving sources (Doppler effect), that has subsequently been confirmed experimentally (called the Wolf Effect). Technically, he found that two non-Lambertian sources that emit beamed energy, can interact in a way that causes a shift in the spectral lines. It is analogous to a pair of tuning forks with similar frequencies (pitches), connected together mechanically with a sounding board; there is a strong coupling that results in the resonant frequencies getting "dragged down" in pitch. The Wolf Effect can produce either redshifts or blueshifts, depending on the observer's point of view, but is redshifted when the observer is head-on. A subsequent 1999 article by Sisir Roy et al. have suggested that the Wolf Effect may explain discordant redshift in certain quasars Ref.


Wolf is a very well known author in the field of optics. Along with Max Born, he co-wrote Principles of Optics of one of the standard textbooks of optics commonly known as "Born and Wolf". He also co-authored, along with Leonard Mandel, Optical Coherence and Quantum Optics. He is the author of Introduction to the Theory of Coherence and Polarization of Light and Selected Works of Emil Wolf with Commentary (World Scientific Publishing, 2001, ISBN 981-281-187-7).[2] He also edits the Progress in Optics series of books since its inception in 1962.

Awards, memberships and degrees[edit]



  • Honorary member of the Optical Society of America (President in 1978)
  • Honorary member of the Optical Societies of India and Australia

Honorary degrees[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Past Presidents of the Optical Society of America". Optical Society of America. 
  2. ^ "Selected Works of Emil Wolf with Commentary [eBook]". http://ebooks.worldscinet.com. Retrieved 14 August 2011.  External link in |work= (help)
  3. ^ "Franklin Laureate Database - Albert A. Michelson Medal Laureates". Franklin Institute. Retrieved June 16, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Max Born Award". Optical Society. Retrieved August 27, 2011. 
  5. ^ "G G Stokes Award". SPIE. Retrieved July 19, 2012. 

External links[edit]