Kerbage Wins 2003 Simon Prize

Photo (left-right): Prof. Michael Mauel, Dr. Charles Kerbage, and Prof. Tony Heinz

The Robert Simon Memorial Prize is awarded annually by the APAM Department to the graduate student who has completed the most outstanding dissertation. This year, Charles E. Kerbage was the winner of the 2003 Simon Prize.

Dr. Kerbage received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in May 2003. His dissertation was entitled "Tunable Photonic Devices using Microstructured Optical Fibers"; he was advised by Prof. Tony Heinz of the Departments of Physics and Electrical Engineering, and Dr. Ben Eggleton of the University of Sidney. Dr. Kerbage has made many noteworthy contributions to the understanding of the fundamental properties and applications of microstructured optical fibers. His research work, documented in numerous journal publications and patents, has significantly enhanced our basic understanding of light propagation in optical fibers in which a strong lateral variation of the refractive index has been artificially created. In addition, Charles Kerbage has devised many new schemes for the manipulation of light based on clever applications of such microstructures fibers, innovations that show considerable potential for advances in photonics.

Dr. Charles Kerbage received his B.S. in Physics from the American University of Beirut in 1997. In 1998 he entered Columbia as a graduate student in quantum electronics in the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics. With guidance from Prof. Heinz and under the supervision of Dr. Eggleton, he continued his doctoral research in the Fiber Optics Department at Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies. While at Columbia, he co-authored eighteen refereed publications and seventeen conference papers, with numerous presentations at professional conferences. He is co-named on four pending patents related to fiber optics.

Following his Ph.D., Dr. Kerbage accepted a position as a research consultant for the Photonics Research Department, OFS Laboratories, in Murray Hill, New Jersey.

History of the Robert Simon Memorial Prize

The Robert Simon Memorial Prize is awarded annually by the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics to the graduate student who has completed the most outstanding dissertation. Should no graduate student’s dissertation qualify in any given year, the prize may be awarded to either the most outstanding student who has completed a master of science degree in the Department or to the most outstanding graduating senior in the Department. The Department chair in consultation with the Department faculty selects the awardee.

Robert Simon (December 25, 1919–February 11, 2001) received a B.A. degree cum laude in classics from the City College of New York in 1941, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and an M.A. in mathematics from Columbia University in 1949. Between 1941 and 1944, Mr. Simon was a lieutenant in the United States Armed Forces serving in England, France, and Italy. He participated in the D-Day operation as a navigator for a plane that dropped paratroopers in the vicinity of Omaha Beach. General Dwight Eisenhower personally shook his hand and wished him well the night before the D-Day assault.

Mr. Simon, who was born and lived in New York City, spent a lifetime making valuable contributions to the field of computer science. Starting in 1953, he worked for 15 years at Sperry's Univac Division in various capacities including marketing, planning, systems engineering, systems programming, and information services. He also spent a year working at the Fairchild Engine Division as director of the Engineering Computer Group. He personally directed the establishment of several company computer centers at sites throughout the United States. Between 1969 and 1973, he was a partner with American Science Associates, a venture capital firm. Mr. Simon was a founder and vice president of Intech Capital Corporation and served on its board from 1972 to 1981 and a founder and member of the board of Leasing Technologies International, Inc. from 1983 until his retirement in 1995.

The prize was established in 2001 by Dr. Jane Faggen with additional support from friends and relatives of Mr. Simon.

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