Scully elected foreign member of Russian Academy of Sciences

December 6, 2016
| By: Aubrey Bloom

Marlan O. Scully, distinguished professor of physics and astronomy at Texas A&M University and Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) Distinguished Research Chair, has been elected as a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS).

Scully is one of 63 new foreign members elected during the October 24-25 general meeting of the Division of RAS and subsequently approved as part of the October 28 general meeting of the broader Academy. According to the RAS Charter, "only the most prominent foreign scientists recognized by the international scientific community can be elected foreign members of the Russian Academy of Sciences."

Scully, a laser physics pioneer, joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1992 and is director of the Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering (IQSE) and the Center for Theoretical Physics. He holds the Hershel E. Burgess ’29 Chair in Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. He also serves as associate dean for external relations in the College of Science and holds a joint professorial appointment in the Department of Chemistry as well as at Princeton University and at Baylor University.

Traditionally, the RAS chooses new academicians once every three years, but due to the changes in the organizational structure of the Academy, no new members have been chosen since 2011. The RAS made up for lost time in 2016, replenishing itself with 176 new academicians and 323 new corresponding members in addition to the 63 new foreign members, which along with Scully -- one of 14 named within the Department of Physical Sciences -- include U.S. National Academy of Sciences President Macnutt Marcia; Nobel laureates Serge Arosh, Martinus Veltman, Kenneth J. Arrow, Rogers Kornberg, Jean-Pierre Sauvage and Dan Shechtman; and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Scully's research in laser physics, quantum optics and biophotonics has led to important advances in many fields. His work on the quantum eraser, for instance, has had a major impact on the philosophy of quantum mechanics.

Scully's groundbreaking multidisciplinary efforts encompasses many firsts, including the first quantum theory of the laser (with Nobel laureate Willis Lamb), the first demonstration of ultraslow light in hot gases, the first demonstration of lasing without inversion and the first detection of anthrax endospores in real time. Furthermore, his work on quantum coherence and correlation effect has shed new light on the foundations of quantum mechanics and yielded new insights into quantum thermodynamics.

"Marlan was a graduate student at Yale shortly after I started teaching at Cornell," said Dr. David M. Lee, Texas A&M distinguished professor of physics and astronomy, 1996 Nobel Prize winner in Physics and foreign member of RAS since 2007. "He had a remarkable graduate career working with Willis Lamb. Over the years, I have been impressed by the broad range of his research and skills as a researcher. In my seven years at Texas A&M, he has been a wonderful colleague."

Lee is but one of the many high-caliber modern scientists recruited to Texas A&M in the past two and a half decades, due in large part to Scully's efforts, energy and expertise. That list in addition to Lee includes fellow Nobel laureates Dudley R. Herschbach (Chemistry, 1986) and Roy S. Glauber (Physics, 2005), along with a dozen National Academy members, many Texas A&M distinguished professors and a plethora of bright young scientists from all over the world -- most of whom are either housed in or directly affiliated with Scully's world-class IQSE-based research group.

The Russian Academy of Sciences was founded in 1724, when Peter the Great on the advice of Gottfried Leibniz invited prominent foreign scientists -- including Leonhard Euler, Nicholas and Daniel Bernoulli, Christian Golbach, Jean Delisle, Georg Krafft and others -- in a quest to improve visibility of Russian science. Many of the foreign academicians, including Daniel Bernoulli and Euler, became world-famous while working for the Russian Empire. The Academy has always cherished ties with foreign scientists, as evidenced by the fact that foreign honorary members have been selected on a regular basis since its establishment.

"I understand that Peter the Great founded the Russian Academy of Sciences, and so it is only appropriate that Marlan Scully the Great become a member," said Dr. Edward S. Fry, Texas A&M distinguished professor of physics and astronomy and former head of Texas A&M Physics and Astronomy. "I'm honored I have had the opportunity to work and collaborate with him. He has been a great asset, not only to the department, but also to Texas A&M in general."

Scully is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Academia Europaea and the Max Planck Society as well as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Inventors, The Optical Society and the American Physical Society. A prolific researcher and author, he has published more than 700 scientific articles and several books -- including “Laser Physics” by Sargent, Scully and Lamb and “Quantum Optics” by Scully and Zubairy -- earning an h-index of 95 and an impressive Google Scholar citation index exceeding 40,000.

A highly decorated researcher and scholar, Scully's many awards and professional honors include the Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus Quinn Prize -- the highest award of the Optical Society (OSA) recognizing overall distinction in optics -- the APS' Arthur L. Schawlow Prize, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.'s Quantum Electronics Award, the OSA's Townes Award, the Franklin Institute's Elliott Cresson Medal, the Commemorative Silver Medal of the Czech Republic, the OSA's Adolph E. Lomb Medal, the Alexander von Humboldt Distinguished Faculty Prize, the OSA's DPG Hebert Walther Award, Harvard University's Morris Loeb Lectureship, multiple distinguished fellowships including a Guggenheim, and many other accolades throughout his career.

Scully, who joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1992, received both his master's of science and Ph.D. degrees in physics from Yale University, working with Nobel laureate Willis Lamb. He is a distinguished alumnus of the University of Wyoming, where he received his bachelor's degree in engineering physics, and also did undergraduate studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

To learn more about Scully and his research, visit http://physics.tamu.edu/people/scully/.

Visit here for additional information on the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Photo: Marlan O. Scully leads Texas A&M University's world-class quantum optics group, which looks at problems spanning the gamut of quantum physics and engineering with application to such diverse areas as quantum computers, quantum thermodynamics and biophotonics.

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