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Eli Yablonovitch (BBHS ’63)

Born: 1946, Puch, Austria

Eli Yablonovitch is a distinguished physicist who was nominated for a Nobel Prize in physics in 2010 for discovering and developing photonic crystals. He is regarded as one of the fathers of the Photonic BandGap concept, and he coined the term “Photonic Crystal”. The geometrical structure of the first experimentally realized Photonic bandgap, is sometimes called “Yablonovite. Photonic crystals are the equivalent in optics to semiconductors in electronics, making them ideal for practical applications.

After graduating from BBHS in 1963, Yablonovitch entered McGill University and received a B.Sc. in Physics in 1967. He continued his academic studies at Harvard where he obtained his Ph.D in Applied Physics in 1972 . He worked for two years at Bell Telephone Laboratories, and then became a professor of Applied Physics at Harvard. In 1979 he joined Exxon researching photovoltaic solar energy, followed in 1984 by research at Bell Communications Research. In 1992 he joined the faculty at UCLA, as Professor of Electrical Engineering. Since 2007  he has been on the faculty the University of California, Berkeley, where he holds numerous academic and research positions including the James and Katherine Lau Engineering Chair, Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences, the Director of the NSF Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science, and a Senior Faculty Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

In addition to his academic positions he has co-founded and sits on the boards of numerous companies related to his scientific research including Ethertronics, Luxtera, Luminescent and Alta Devices.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the Optical Society of America, and the American Physical Society. Yablonovitch is a Life Member of Eta Kappa Nu, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences.

Among his numerous awards and honours are the Adolf Lomb Medal, the Buckley Prize of the American Physical Society, the Isaac Newton Medal of the UK Institute of Physics, the Rank Prize, the Harvey Prize , the IEEE Photonics Award, the IET Mountbatten Medal, the Julius Springer Prize, the R.W. Wood Prize, and the W. Streifer Scientific Achievement Award. He has also received an honorary Ph.D. from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He is an honorary Professor at Nanjing University.


Eli Yablonovitch University of California, Berkeley Biographical Data
University of California, Berkeley, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Institute of Physics Eli Yablonovitch Award