Stephen E. Harris

Stephen E. Harris
Stephen E. Harris
Brooklyn, NY, USA
Associated organizations
Bell Labs
Fields of study
IEEE David Sarnoff Award


Stephen E. Harris was born in 1936 in Brooklyn, and received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1959. After a year at Bell Laboratories he came to Stanford University where he received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering in 1961 and 1963, respectively. Sioce 1963 he has been on the faculty at Stanford where he is now a Professor of Electrical Engineering and, by courtesy, of Applied Physics.

At Stanford Dr. Harris has made many major contributions in the fields of lasers, quantum electronics, and nonlinear optics, in addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, and leading a large and enthusiastic group of Ph.D. research students. Some of his inventions and discoveries include the FM laser, a synthesis procedure for birefringent optical filters, the first observation of optical parametric spontaneous emission, the first cw optical parametic oscillator, the tunable acousto-optic filter, and the first electronically tunable laser. In recent years his demonstration of the generation of coherent ultraviolet light by phase-matched harmonic generation in metallic vapors has led him to many important new physical concepts and devices, including infrared image up-converters, holograms taken in the vacuum ultraviolet, and methods for switching atomic collisions on and off using laser radiation. His present interests are in applying these techniques to selective laser-induced atomic collisions, to laser chemistry, and to the development of new techniques for generating vacuum ultraviolet and soft x-ray radiation.

Professor Harris is a Fellow of the IEEE, the Optical Society of America, and the American Physical Society, and in past years has received the 1965 Alfred Noble Prize of; the American Society of Civil Engineers and the 1973 Curtis McGraw Research Award of the American Society for Engineering Education. In 1977 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. He was one of the founders of Chromatix, Inc. in 1968, and has consulted for Sylvania Electronic Systems, SpectraPhysics, Westinghouse Electric Corporation and for several government agencies, as well as serving on IEEE and other professional society committees. He has authored some 70 technical articles and presently holds 10 patents.

Stephen Harris, his wife Fran, and children Hilary and Craig are all enthusiastic skiers and summer backpackers in the Sierra Nevada. During his recent sabbatical year to Dartmouth College, with the aid of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1976-77, he substituted cross country skiing for his regular jogging routine at Stanford.