The American Physical Society has named two ECE ILLINOIS alums, George Rodriguez (MS ’88, PhD ‘93) and Kevin Webb (PhD ‘84) among the fellows it has selected this year.
The APS is the second-largest organization of physicists in the world, comprising more than 50,000 members. Half of 1 percent of these members are picked for the honor annually. The distinction was earned through recognition and a nomination process vetted by peers, and a topical subcommittee.
Kevin Webb is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University. When he’s not teaching, Webb noted his research focuses on biophotonics and nanophotonics, including the imaging of objects at the cellular and far-subwavelength levels, and he enjoys research into far-reaching topics and new frontiers, or “a mix of taking chances on new topics and hard work.”
Professor Emeritus Raj Mittra was his adviser.
For the rest of his career, Webb said he plans to work on research problems with PhD students. It's work he hopes will change the world for the better. Apart from his research and teaching, Webb founded the Purdue Karate club in 1990, and is the chief instructor and a fifth dan black belt and shihan, or master instructor.
Rodriguez works at the Los Alamos National Laboratory as a senior-level scientist in the Laboratory for Ultrafast Materials & Optical Science (LUMOS) in the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies Group. LUMOS is composed of six staff members, and is focused on developing and applying the latest ultrafast optical techniques to understand interactions between light and matter in complex materials at the shortest timescales.
Rodriguez specifically is in charge of developing high-speed optical diagnostics central to the laboratory’s core mission in high-energy density physics experiments and in examining materials at extremes. His research is in the field of ultrafast optical science, but he applies it to areas as diverse as shock physics and high explosives, condensed matter systems, and nano-based materials, among other interests. Professor J. Gary Eden
was his ECE ILLINOIS adviser.
Mentioning that he was humbled by the honor of receiving a fellowship, Rodriguez also highlighted his research experience at Illinois, and its role in establishing his interests in the then-nascent field of ultrafast optical science.
“My early training as an Illinois graduate student under Professor Gary Eden at the Optical & Discharge Physics Lab allowed me to enter the field of ultrafast optical science in much of its early years,” Rodriguez said. “I am indebted to those years at Illinois where the laboratory skills initially were developed and the opportunity of to have researched at such an outstanding institution.”