The meaning of light

February 11, 2015 Agencies
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2015 is the United Nations proclaimed ‘Year of Light’ and who better to explain the ‘meaning of light’ than a man who has played a key role in unravelling its mysteries, Technion Distinguished Professor Mordechai ‘Moti’ Segev.

Professor Segev will visit Sydney next week.

Professor Mordechai Segev [rt] explaining to a student

Professor Mordechai Segev [rt] explaining to a student

Professor Segev is regarded as a world leading researcher in the area of photonics which encompasses all aspects of research and application into light.

He is the Technion’s lead researcher in the Technion-Sydney University-NSW Government Photonics Research Project which is expected to make a number of breakthroughs in developing the photonic chip of the future, unleashing the next technology wave of computer chips and communications.

His contribution to Israel, and beyond, was recognised in 2014 when he was awarded Israel’s highest accolade, the Israel Prize in Physics and Chemistry.

“Professor Segev is regarded as one of the Technion’s most gifted researchers, no small acknowledgement from a university recognised as the powerhouse behind the ’Start Up Nation”, said Dr Ruth Ratner, President of Technion Australia (NSW).

“Due to Professor Segev’s demanding research schedule it has taken two years of planning to finally bring him to Sydney. We are very grateful that he has made time to spend time with us”.

“The Photonics Research Project is a milestone because it is the first time that any Australian Government has funded an Australian university to guarantee its collaboration with an Israeli university. The NSW Government’s involvement was in no small measure due to its confidence in Professor Segev,” she said.

He is in Sydney for the Centre for Ultrahigh Bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS) annual 2015 Workshop and to meet the community. His only public appearance will be at the Technion Australia ‘Meaning of Light’ Supper to be held on 19 February, 2015 (for more details see ‘events’ at

He has more than 270 publications in refereed journals, many book chapters, and has given more than 100 invited, keynote, and plenary presentations at conferences. However, above all his personal achievements, Professor Segev takes pride in the success of the graduate students and post-doctoral fellows that have worked with him over the years. Among those are currently 16 university professors in the United States, Germany, Taiwan, Croatia, Italy, India and Israel as well as many senior R & D positions in industry.

Among his most significant contributions are the discoveries of photorefractive solitons, of random-phase solitons (also called incoherent solitons, or self-trapping of solitons made of incoherent white light from an incandescent bulb), the first observation of 2D lattice solitons, the first experimental demonstration of Anderson localization in a disordered periodic system, and demonstrating the first photonic topological insulator.

He received his B.Sc. and D.Sc. from the Technion in 1985 and 1990, respectively, spent one year at Caltech as a post-doctoral fellow and two more years as a Senior Research Fellow. He joined Princeton in September, 1994 becoming full Professor in 1999. In the summer of 1998, Moti went back to Israel and joined the Technion, eventually resigning from Princeton in 2000.

 He jokes that he finds much entertainment in more demanding fields such as basketball and hiking.

What is photonics?

The science of photonics is the study of light and includes the generation, emission, transmission, modulation, signal processing, switching, amplification, and detection/sensing of light. It covers all technical applications of light over the whole spectrum from ultraviolet through the visible to the near-, mid- and far-infrared.

Photonics is a four trillion industry in the USA alone and some of its applications are optical cables, laser printers, long life light bulbs, mobile phones and communication systems.

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