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Prof Roy Glauber, Nobel Prize Winner in Physics, 2005 at the Nobel Prize Ceremonies.

Roy Jay Glauber (born 1 September 1925) is the Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics at Harvard University and Adjunct Professor of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona. Born in New York City, he was awarded one half of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his contribution to the quantum theory of optical coherence", with the other half shared by John L. Hall and Theodor W. Hänsch.

In this work, published in 1963, he created a model for photodetection and explained the fundamental characteristics of different types of light, such as laser light (see coherent state) and light from light bulbs (see blackbody). His theories are widely used in the field of quantum optics.


Roy Glauber was born in 1925 in New York City.

A member of the 1941 graduating class at the Bronx High School of Science, Glauber went on to do his undergraduate work at Harvard University.

After his sophomore year he was recruited to work on the Manhattan Project, where (at the age of 18) he was one of the youngest scientists at Los Alamos. His work involved calculating the critical mass for the atom bomb. After two years at Los Alamos, he returned to Harvard, receiving his bachelor's degree in 1946 and and his PhD in 1949.

Glauber has received many honors for his research, including the A. A. Michelson Medal from the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia (1985), the Max Born Award from the American Optical Society (1985), the Dannie Heineman Prize from the American Physical Society (1996), and the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics.

He is currently the Mallinkrodt Professor of Physics at Harvard University, where both past and present students enthusiastically praised his teaching to Harvard Crimson reporters.

Glauber has two children, a son and a daughter.

Recent Work

Roy Glauber's recent research has dealt with problems in a number of areas of quantum optics, a field which, broadly speaking, studies the quantum electrodynamical interactions of light and matter. He is also continuing work on several topics in high- energy collision theory, including the analysis of hadron collisions, and the statistical correlation of particles produced in high-energy reactions.

Specific topics of his current research include: the quantum mechanical behavior of trapped wave packets; interactions of light with trapped ions; atom counting-the statistical properties of free atom beams and their measurement; algebraic methods for dealing with fermion statistics; coherence and correlations of bosonic atoms near the Bose-Einstein condensation; the theory of continuously monitored photon counting-and its reaction on quantum sources; the fundamental nature of “quantum jumps”; resonant transport of particles produced multiply in high-energy collisions; the multiple diffraction model of proton-proton and proton-antiproton scattering.


Soon after Glauber's Nobel Prize was announced, public controversy was set in motion by E. C. George Sudarshan, a physics professor at the University of Texas at Austin, who sent a letter (unpublished) to the New York Times protesting his omission from the list of winners. In December, 2005, ten scientists wrote to the Nobel Committee calling Sudarshan's omission from the list of winners "a grave miscarriage of justice."

Because the terms of Alfred Nobel's will restrict the number of Nobel Prize winners to three in a given year, the Nobel Committee has often been criticized in the past for allegedly ignoring scientists who did seminal work on a topic while awarding a prize to other scientists for the same topic. (In 2005, Roy Glauber was one of three awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.) According to Inside Higher Ed, "The Nobel report explicitly notes that, though Sudarshan took Glauber’s work to the next level, Glauber’s seminal work appeared first, months before Sudarshan’s in 1963."


For many years before winning his Nobel Prize, Glauber was familiar to audiences of the Ig Nobel Prize ceremonies, where he took a bow each year as "Keeper of the Broom," sweeping the stage clean of the paper airplanes that have traditionally been thrown during the event.

Quantum theory of optical coherence: selected papers and lectures, Roy J. Glauber


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