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St Andrews scientist awarded international physics prize

Professor Kishan Dholakia, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of St Andrews, has been awarded the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) Dennis Gabor Award 2018, for his use of dynamic and static diffractive optics. This has led to paradigm shifts in manipulation, nano-surgery and imaging.

The SPIE, founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies, is the international society for optics and photonics. The not-for-profit society, which has over 264,000 members across 166 countries, advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth.

Professor Kishan Dholakia
Professor Kishan Dholakia

Dennis Gabor was a Hungarian-British electrical engineer and physicist, who is noted as the inventor of holography, for which he received the 1971 Nobel Prize in Physics. The advent of the laser led to a wide variety of holographic applications that we see today.

Kishan Dholakia said: “I am truly honoured and humbled to receive this award that is named after one of the most exceptional scientists of the last Century. It is a recognition of my whole group’s work in this exciting area of shaped light and they share this accolade with me.”

Professor Dholakia will receive the Award at the SPIE Annual Meeting in San Diego later this month.


SPIE partners with researchers, educators and industry to advance light-based research and technologies for the betterment of the human condition.

SPIE annually organises and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions and education programmes in North America, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific.

In 2017, SPIE provided $4 million in support of education and outreach programmes.

SPIE publishes the SPIE Digital Library, containing more than 463,000 research papers from the Proceedings of SPIE and the Society’s ten scholarly journals with around 18,000 new papers added each year, and more than 320 eBooks from the SPIE Press catalogue. The SPIE Press publishes print monographs, tutorial texts, Field Guides and reference books. SPIE also publishes a wide variety of open access content.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

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