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Garmire Elected to NAE

Mar 04, 2011

CONTACT: Catharine Lamm

Elsa Garmire Elsa Garmire, Sydney E. Junkins Professor of Engineering at Dartmouth, is a newly-elected councillor for The National Academy of Engineering (NAE). The NAE, with over 1,800 active members, is governed by its Council, consisting of 6 officers and 12 councilors elected by NAE members. NAE program initiatives are reviewed and approved by the Council on the recommendations of NAE member advisory boards, such as the Program Advisory Committee and the Committee on Engineering Education. "I've done a lot of advising," says Professor Garmire, "My main interest now for advising is in the matter of standards for technology education in the K-12 arena."

The NAE was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, but shares with the NAS the responsibility for advising the federal government. The NAE operates under the same congressional act that established the National Academy of Sciences, signed in 1863 by President Lincoln. Under this charter the NAE is directed, "whenever called upon by any department or agency of the government, to investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art."

Garmire received her A.B. in physics from Harvard and her Ph.D. in nonlinear optics from M.I.T. She has remained a pioneer in the laser field, also called quantum electronics, since its inception. After post-doctoral work at Caltech, she joined the University of Southern California where she was named William Hogue Professor of Electrical Engineering and director of the Center for Laser Studies. She came to Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering in 1995 and served for 2 years as dean before making the decision to shift her focus back to research and teaching.

"Lasers and optics have made possible a myriad of technical and scientific achievements. The area of research with applications specific to information technology is commonly called photonics," says Garmire, describing her favorite research activity. She and her students have studied semiconductor laser arrays, optical fibers, photorefractive effects and optical damage, harmonic generation, optical modulators and sensors, and the ultra-fast properties of materials investigated by mode-locked light pulses. She has even demonstrated that Q-switched YAG lasers are a practical way to remove graffiti.

Garmire's laser laboratory is used by undergraduate and graduate students alike for course work and research. Her three-year term as an NAE councillor begins July 1.

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