Dr. Paul Bruce Corkum graduated from Lehigh in 1972 with a Ph.D. in theoretical physics. He received his Bachelor's degree at Acadia University in Nova Scotia before coming to Lehigh University.
Images on the Molecular Level
After graduating from Lehigh, Dr. Corkum applied to study quantum electronics at Canada's National Research Council (NRC) for his post-doctoral work. He now works there as a Project Leader and he and his fellow researchers are using lasers to see unimaginably fast chemical reactions and the movements of molecular particles. He and his team have found a way to photograph electrons moving at speeds measured in attoseconds, or 1/1000,000,000,000,000,000 of a second. This imaging allows the researchers to study the electron orbitals of molecules and see how they break apart. He is now known as "the father of the attosecond laser pulse".
Awards and Recognitions
Dr. Corkum received the Quantum Electronics Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2005. Because the Optical Society of America also awarded him the Charles H. Townes award in that same year, he became the first person in history to receive two of only four prestigious awards given at The Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics. CLEO is an annual international event that honors the work of scientists in optics and photonics.
For his work, Dr. Corkum received Canada's highest physics award, the Canadian Association of Physicists gold medal for lifetime achievement in physics. Dr. Corkum is a member of the Royal Society of London and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2006, he received Canada's Isaak-Walton-Killam Prize for physical sciences and the American Physical Society's Arthur L. Schawlow Prize. Corkum has also received the Einstein Award given by the Society for Optical and Quantum Electronics, her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002, and the Tory Medal of the Royal Society of Canada in 2003.
Recently, he was named an Officer to the Order of Canada. Dr. Corkum also received the 2007 John C. Polanyi Award from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
Dr. Corkum is the author of numerous published articles and the editor of a book. Corkum resides in Gloucester, Ontario and continues his work with the NRC in the Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences in Ottawa.