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Henry Kapteyn '80

As a research physicist, Henry Kapteyn '80 is recognized as a world leader in the development of a new generation of lasers which make it straightforward to produce a light pulse of less than 10 femtoseconds duration. Dr. Kapteyn has been a Professor at the Department of Physics, and a Fellow of JILA, at the University of Colorado at Boulder since 1999. He graduated from Harvey Mudd in 1982 with a BS in Physics, Princeton with an MS in Physics, and received his PhD in Physics from UC Berkeley in the field of x-ray and short-wavelength laser physics. He is a founding member of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center in Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology and co-founder of KMLabs, a successful laser company. His awards include a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, the Adolph Lomb Medal, the Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science and Technology, the R.W. Wood Prize, the Arthur Schawlow Prize and the Willis Lamb Award in Quantum Electronics.

In 2013, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), an advisory body to the US government on matters related to science and technology, elected Kapteyn as a new member. The NAS was created in 1863 by an Act of Congress and signed into effect by President Abraham Lincoln. Scientists are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. The NAS is committed to furthering science in America, and its members are active contributors to the international scientific community.

Kapteyn also received the Harvey Mudd College Alumni Association Board of Governors' "HMC Outstanding Alumni" award for his contributions to science.

In spring 2018, Kapteyn joined the ranks of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin when he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, "one of the nation's oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers," in recognition of his contributions to laser and optical science and technology, according to Kapteyn. He was elected with 212 other people including the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama, Supreme Court Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor and legendary actor Tom Hanks.
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