Ghanaian Engineering Professor Wins ‘Quantum Electronics Award’

Professor Herbert Winful is a proud winner of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Photonics Society Quantum Electronics Award 2020. He received the Award “for pioneering the field of nonlinear optical periodic structures and for foundational contributions to nonlinear dynamics of semiconductor laser arrays.”

The IEEE Photonics Society Quantum Electronics Award is given to honor an individual (or group of individuals) for outstanding technical contributions to quantum electronics, either in fundamentals or applications, or both. The Award may be for a single contribution or for a distinguished series of contributions over a long period of time. The Award consists of an honorarium of $4,000 USD and a medal. The presentation is made at the IEEE Photonics Conference.

Herbert Winful is the Joseph E. and Anne P. Rowe Professor of Electrical Engineering, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and a Professor of Physics at the University of Michigan. He earned a BS degree in electrical engineering from MIT in 1975 and a PhD from the University of Southern California in 1981. He then spent six years conducting research in fiber optics and semiconductor laser physics as a Principal Member of Technical Staff at GTE Laboratories in Waltham, Massachusetts. Winful joined the University of Michigan in 1987 as an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science and was promoted to full professor four years later.

His many contributions to photonics and quantum electronics include pioneering work on nonlinear optical periodic structures, the nonlinear dynamics of coherently-coupled laser arrays, the physics of quantum tunneling time, polarization instabilities, and distributed-feedback fiber Raman lasers. He has published over 130 journal articles and supervised the research of 18 PhD students. For ten years he ran an NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates site at the Center for Ultrafast Optical Science (CUOS).

Professor Winful is a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, and the National Society of Black Physicists. His many awards include the EECS Outstanding Achievement Award, the College of Engineering Teaching Excellence and Service Excellence Awards, The Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize, the Amoco/University of Michigan Teaching Excellence Award, the State of Michigan Teaching Excellence Award, and the Raymond J. and Monica E. Schultz Outreach and Diversity Award. He has been twice voted Professor of the Year in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, named the Tau Beta Pi Outstanding Professor in the College of Engineering, and earned the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award.

To celebrate the honour, Professor Herbert Winful performed his own composition in front of a couple of hundred guests.