Gérard Mourou

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Gérard Mourou in 2015

Gérard Mourou is a French pioneer in the field of electrical engineering and lasers. Along with Donna Strickland, he co-invented a technique called chirped pulse amplification, or CPA, which was later used to create ultrashort-pulse, very high-intensity (terawatt) laser pulses. In 1994, Mourou and his team at the University of Michigan discovered that the balance between the self-focusing refraction (see Kerr effect) and self-attenuating diffraction by ionization and rarefaction of a laser beam of terawatt intensities in the atmosphere creates "filaments" which act as waveguides for the beam thus preventing divergence.

He has been the director of the Laboratoire d'Optique Appliquee at the ENSTA (Palaiseau, France) and is a professor at the École Polytechnique (Palaiseau, France). He was the founding director of the Center for Ultrafast Optical Science (CUOS) at the University of Michigan in 1990.

On the 23rd of November 2015 he attended the Third Christmas Lecture held in Bucharest. His presentation was entitled Breaking Through The Unknown: Extreme light, Science to Art. The previous lectures were given by Sir Thomas Kibble and Professor Joseph Silk.

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