James J. Wynne

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James J. Wynne
Born (1943-03-19) March 19, 1943 (age 77)
Brooklyn, New York[1]
Alma materHarvard University,B.A. 1964, PhD 1969
AwardsNational Inventors Hall of Fame, 2002
R.W. Wood Prize, 2004
Russ Prize, 2013
National Academy of Engineering, 2015
Scientific career

James J. Wynne (born March 19, 1943 in Brooklyn)[2] is an American physicist at the IBM Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY.

Wynne pioneered the use of excimer lasers for medical applications, most notably LASIK. He received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation on February 2, 2013 from U.S. President Obama, together with Rangaswamy Srinivasan and (posthumously) Samuel Blum for their contributions to laser eye surgery.

Wynne studied at Harvard University, receiving the bachelor's degree in 1964, master's degree in 1965 and his doctorate in applied physics in 1969. He then joined IBM Research, first at IBM Zurich Research Laboratory and then at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center. His research has been in nonlinear optics of semiconductors and insulators, nonlinear spectroscopy of atomic and molecular vapors physics of Clusters, using the laser to etch and in medicine (e.g., fluorescence studies of tissue).

In 1981, with Rangaswamy Srinivasan and Samuel E. Blum at IBM, he pioneered the use of excimer lasers in surgery. Based on an early experiment in which an excimer laser was able to make clean cuts in dead cartilage from a Thanksgiving turkey, without thermal damage,[3] they recognized the potential for surgery. Srinivasan later developed on this basis, with Bodil Braren and Stephen Trokel, applications to eye surgery in the form of photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and LASIK. Wynne himself worked on applications in dermatology with doctors at New York University Medical School (1985).[4][5]

Wynne was Manager for nonlinear spectroscopy, laser physics and chemistry and biology and molecular physics at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center. He was a visiting scholar at the University of Chicago, the University of Rochester, the Dartmouth College and Johns Hopkins University. He is now responsible for education outreach at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Center. He also conducts research on the development of ″smart scalpels″ with excimer lasers for the removal of necrotic skin from burn injuries.

Wynne received the R. W. Wood Prize of the Optical Society of America (OSA) in 2004, the Rank Prize in Optoelectronics [ru] in 2010, and the Russ Prize of the National Academy of Engineering in 2013. He received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation for 2011. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and the OSA. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2002. He was co-founder of the Forum of Education of APS and was a member of the Committees for Education of both the APS and the OSA. In 2015 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

1982/83 he was co-editor of an issue of the Journal of the Optical Society of America.


  1. ^ https://www.ohio.edu/engineering/russ-prize/current-winners/james-j-wynne.cfm
  2. ^ Life-history for American Men and Women of Science, Thomson Gale 2004
  3. ^ Lyndsay Meyer, "How a Leftover Thanksgiving Dinner Gave Us LASIK Surgery", Optical Society of America, November 25, 2013, [1]
  4. ^ Randall Lane, Ralph Linsker, James Wynne, Torres, Geronemus' Ultraviolet Laser Ablation of Skin , Archives of Dermatology 121, 609–617 (1985)
  5. ^ Lane, Wynne, Geronemus, Ultraviolet Laser Ablation of Skin: Healing Studies and a Thermal Model , Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 6, 504 -513 (1987)

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