Purdue News

September 3, 2004

Nobel Laureate to speak at lecture honoring late professor

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Nobel Prize-winning engineer will be the first speaker in a lecture series honoring an electrical and computer engineering professor who died from cancer in 2002.

Herbert Kroemer, a 2000 Nobel Prize winner in physics, will speak from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Wednesday (Sept. 8) in the Krannert Auditorium as part of the Philip F. Bagwell Lecture Series. The lecture is in honor of Bagwell, who was an associate professor at Purdue until his death from cancer two years ago.

Kroemer, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and materials at the University of California-Santa Barbara, will discuss current research and future possibilities of negative refraction. The lecture is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow in the Weiler Lounge.

"Having this lecture series is a great honor for Phil, and for me to be a part of this," said Suneeta Kercood, Bagwell's widow. "I would like to thank Drs. Supriyo Datta, Mark Lundstrom and Kevin Webb (electrical and computer engineering professors) for creating and organizing this lecture series and providing us with an avenue to continue celebrating Phil's life."

Bagwell earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1984 and master's and doctoral degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1888 and 1990, respectively.

He joined the faculty of Purdue's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1991 and was an associate professor at the time of his death. His research interests included quantum mechanical electron transporters, electron transport in small devices, physics of semiconductors, and metals and superconductivity and superconducting devices.

He had contributed to six books and was the author of more than 60 papers in scientific journals and conference proceedings.

"Phil Bagwell was a very deep thinker with very deep interests," said Kevin J. Webb, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and a close friend of Bagwell's. "Professor Kroemer and his work share those characteristics. The two men share many interests, and he is a wonderful speaker to begin the lecture series."

Webb said negative refraction is an important, emerging field in electrical engineering and nanotechnology. Naturally occurring systems refract light positively, but scientists have developed systems in artificial environments that can refract negatively. Most current research in the area focuses on either how to correctly describe the new phenomenon or how to build systems in a real environment with the property, Webb said.

He said one future application could be the development of a "perfect lens," which would allow the production of images with no flaws.

Most of Kroemer's work focuses on semiconductivity. In the mid-1950s, he was the first to point out that great performance advantages could be gained in various semiconductor devices by incorporating what are now called heterostructures. In 1963 he proposed the concept of the double-heterostructure laser, the central concept in the field of semiconductor lasers.

It was that work that led to his Nobel Prize, and with the development of modern epitaxial growth technology, these ideas have become mainstream.

CONTACT: Kevin Webb, (765) 494-3373, kevin.j.webb.1@purdue.edu

Writer: Matt Holsapple, (765) 494-2073, mholsapple@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


Note to Journalists: Journalists may interview Suneeta Kercood about the Phillip F. Bagwell Lecture Series by contacting Matt Holsapple at (765) 494-2073, mholsapple@purdue.edu


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