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In footnotes or endnotes please cite AIP interviews like this:
Interview of Elsa Garmire by Joan Bromberg on 1985 February 4,
Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics,
College Park, MD USA,
For multiple citations, "AIP" is the preferred abbreviation for the location.
Years from undergraduate days at Radcliffe College, 1961, through research at California Institute of Technology, to 1973: scientific work, evolution of career objectives, and history of marriage. Charles H. Townes' MIT research group on nonlinear optics, Caltech as an environment for women scientists; fall and subsequent rise of self-confidence as a scientist. Also prominently mentioned are: Ray Chiao, Edward Mills Purcell, Ron Shen, Amnon Yariv; and Harvard University.
“Why did I choose physics as a career?” I chose physics as a career because I believe that it led me to the fundamental answers of how the world works.
Is this something you did even before college?
Oh yes, I had decided when I was in the 6th grade that science interested me, and I looked at the various options in science. In fact, I can remember I had a teacher — in fact, I found the pamphlet recently, I had a teacher who handed out a pamphlet called “Careers in Science,” and it started at the front with lab tech, and worked the the way to the back to research scientist, which was the biggest thing you could be, and of course true of form, the research tech wore a skirt and the research scientist wore pants. But I made up my mind that I wanted the top position in the field, which was the research scientist. That was kind of why I wanted a career as a research scientist, and then looking at all the sciences, it was clear to me that physics answered on the most fundamental level. I might choose a different course now if I began. Now I think biophysics is perhaps more fundamental in ways that are useful, but at the time physics was very glamorous.
So you went to Radcliffe. You knew you were going to study physics.
What was it like there?
The physics department, I would guess, had about 20 to 50 physics majors. I don’t really know. There were three girls in my class majoring in physics.
When you say the physics department, you mean Harvard?
All courses were together. All exams were together. By that time the two schools were essentially together. On the other hand, we lived separately, and so my interaction on a day to day basis was more with the girls. There were two others girls in my class in physics. One was already married to the doctor, I guess, and in Radcliffe at school was separated from him. She ultimately left before her senior year, eventually finished up physics elsewhere and I think got a master’s degree at Columbia. The other girl, made me very jealous because she was brilliant and she didn’t decide till her senior year that she would major in physics, and she ended up having the highest record of any of the girls. I was a B plus, A minus student. I was not as good a student as I would have liked. So then there was this student who came in, in the last year, and won the top honors for the girls. That’s all right, she was a very nice girl, a quaker. After graduation she left physics and became a social worker. She just flashed through physics.
Was that a pretty comfortable choice of major at that point, or were you getting a lot of razzing?
First of all, this was before the women’s movement, and most women that went into men’s fields at that time did it because they did not want to be identified as women. They wanted to identify with where they saw the power was. And there was very little togetherness amongst the girls. I mean, we got together when we had to because there was no one else to do problems with, but we were not in there as women together moving into a man’s field. We were each there individualists who wanted — in fact, I loved being the only girl in the class. I didn’t want there to be any other girls. And I think all the girls felt that way. You’d go to the meetings at that time, and women would sit in the farthest corners of the room from each other. Each woman would want to be alone and the star attraction. We thought of each other very much as competitors at that time.
But how did the men see you, or how did you experience their seeing you?
Well, a couple of things. One is, none of the men wanted to do any of the labs with us, so we were pretty much on our own to do labs. I was very eager to prove myself in this men’s world, and managed by the time I was a senior to TA in freshman physics lab courses, which did my ego a tremendous amount of good. Here I was, the only girl, and I was still an undergraduate and teaching freshman, and so —
— probably teaching mostly boys, too.
Yes all boys. Certainly there was nobody who stood in my way. As far as the professors go, they could not have been more supportive, really, truly. My junior year I got bored with some of the school work. I was taking a relatively light course load, and so I went to a professor that I liked a good deal, Professor Pipkin. And I told him that I was bored in classes, and was there something I could do? He said that he had an experiment that I could do on my own, and it was really very exciting. It was an optical pumping experiment. I mean, when I look back at it, I’m kind of amazed that, physics professors there do that. They still do it. My daughter’s a student there now and I’m reminded of the really exceptional education one gets at Harvard. But I did this special non-credit project for him.
Were you already interested in quantum electronics at all, did the optical pumping have anything to do with it?
No. No, not really. I didn’t even take any optics courses. Of course, optics was a dead field. Quantum electronics didn’t exist. I graduated in ‘61. This was 1960 or 1959.
You would have had to come at it from electrical engineering.
No, it was certainly not electrical engineering. The only laser work going on in 1959 and 1960 was at the absolute forefront, you know, laser work in three or four places, certainly not at most universities.
You didn’t come across Bloembergen?
Well, it’s an interesting story, as a matter of fact. Talk about my own personal history with lasers — my first experience with lasers was when I spent this summer working in Argonne National Laboratory, and Bloembergen came and gave a talk. This must have been the summer of 1960, conceivably could have been the summer of ‘59 but I think it was the summer of 1960. Bloembergen came and gave a talk on the optical maser. Of course, it was called that back then and not the laser, and I remember being fascinated by his talk, but unable to understand whether he was talking about the atoms being pumped up to excited states or bumped up to excited states, because of his accent, and I didn’t think it was appropriate for this poor undergraduate to ask which was the correct word! But I didn’t realize that I would ultimately be going into that field.
OK, so, when I got my degree, or at my senior year, I was planning to go to Grad school — Well, one more thing, two more things actually, speaking of being an undergraduate. Prof. Purcell was so incredibly inspirational to me at Harvard. Oh, I took his course in atomic physics, and I swear, every lecture, I was up there at the end of the lecture in the front of the hall with six million questions based on what he had said. I was just so inspired and enthusiastic. He’s a fantastic teacher, and I think that had a lot to do with inspiring me to keep going no matter what. One other thing I remember, I got interested in general relativity, and a group of us girls at Radcliffe arranged for a physics professor, a young assistant professor, to come up and run a weekly seminar with us on trying to understand general relativity. That must have been my freshman or sophomore year. I think at that time, if you ask what it was like to be a women, I don’t think we were as “professional” as women tend to be today, but we were fascinated by the subject matter and willing to go into it at whatever level we needed to learn what we wanted.
There is a career orientation, a kind of sense of what it means in monetary terms and in status terms to be a physicist which is kind of missing from what you’re saying.
Oh, it didn’t exist back then. In fact, I believe I’m typical of most women of that time, but I certainly was absolutely schizophrenic about my life. In school I had made up my mind that I would compete head-on with the men. I expected to never take anything less than the top job that was offered me. I was really going to rise to the top. At the same time, I fully expected to become a housewife, get married and stay home and raise children. And I hadn’t any plans about how to resolve this. It was really schizophrenia and I don’t think it was particularly good but it was there.
Now, you were already destined to go on to a Ph.D., at least on one level of your split personality?
Yes. Well, what happened was that I applied to grad schools. I was pretty well convinced I wasn’t very good, and I knew I had to stay in the Boston area because I was getting married and my husband was a grad student at MIT. I applied to Harvard and MIT, and I guess originally I had planned to apply to Brandeis, because I thought I wouldn’t get into either Harvard or MIT, but the fall of my senior year I realized I had actually very good grades, or reasonable enough grades, and I guess also Prof. Purcell had talked to me and convinced me that I should be able to get into Harvard or MIT, so I applied to Harvard and MIT. I got into both of them. MIT gave me an RA. Harvard gave me a fellowship, and I seriously considered staying at Harvard, but I was a little sick of school after four years, sick of the library, and also I had some concerns. I would have been in applied physics and I wanted to get a pure physics degree, little knowing that I would end up a professor of electrical engineering. So I went to MIT. As far as my RA at MIT was concerned, they put me with the one woman on the faculty. She was the wife of a very famous physics professor, and at the time I had very little sympathy with her. Now, with the wisdom of age, I have considerably more.
Who was she?
Her name was Rose Mooney Slater, and she had been a physics professor, as I recall, head of the physics department at Tulane University. I’m not positive of that, but that’s what I remember. She had met Prof. Slater when he was in his sixties or late fifties, and they had fallen head over heels with each other in love. She had never been married. So he divorced and married her, he brought her to MIT, and he helped her get a research appointment. She had a lab. She was an X-ray crystallographer. And I couldn’t stand her!
Could you stand the physics she had you do?
Oh, I didn’t do any physics. She was an old maid in many ways and very very confining. I couldn’t move a muscle in that laboratory without getting permission from her. I couldn’t even sign a pen and paper out of the stock room. She only read ACTA CRYSTALLAGRAPHIA — she didn’t read any other physics, which I thought was terrible. I thought that she should have kept abreast of all physics if she was a physicist. She was not even doing what I considered interesting X-ray crystallography. Of course, that was the time of all the Watson and Crick and company. She wasn’t doing anything like that. She wasn’t doing phase transitions, which I thought was interesting. She was just picking minerals that hadn’t been studied before and studying them. So I found it very boring and totally un-inspirational, and I used to go home every night crying because I couldn’t stand it. I thought a lot about quitting, but I got a lot of inspiration from my husband, to consider switching to some other professor. Well, there was a professor at MIT who had been at Harvard when I was there, whom I like a good deal. That was George Benedek, and so I went to George and I asked if I could work for him, and he said he didn’t have any room in his group. At the time I was heartsick and crushed that he didn’t want me. I also realize now that one fills up one’s research group and you don’t have money for more people. Anyway, I did hear that there was this guy I’d never heard of called Townes that had just come. He’d come in the summer, and this was December, and because he was new and getting his lab started, he hadn’t taken on a student for the fall, and so I heard that he was looking for a student, so I went to see him. He took me on. And that’s the sum total of my choice in choosing to work with Townes.
You had just come in ‘61 and you started already as a student with Townes?
Yes. I came in the fall of ‘61.
And presumably you’re mostly taking courses all this time.
An RA means that you do research and take courses at the same time. I was very much interested in lab work and I think I put a lot more time into my lab work when I had an RA than most students do now. I took the minimum number of courses and the maximum time in the lab, which I’m not sure necessarily is good or bad, but that’s what I did.
What did Townes have you doing?
Well, we purchased the second, I believe, my recollection is, it was the second commercial Trion laser, ruby laser. Literally the number two laser. I think Peter Franken got number one. That’s what Mike Bass did his thesis on, so it’s kind of amusing that after all these years we’re back working together, at USC Center for Laser Studies. So I got this Trion laser, and of course it didn’t work. I spent a year redesigning it, right along in parallel with the company redesigning it, and —
Were you actually working with them or just know that they were?
Oh no, I don’t think that we were working with them for money.
I mean, you would consult with them?
I would talk with them all the time.
— Cross, Lee Cross and Lloyd Cross —
Oh — I don’t think Lloyd Cross, that doesn’t sound right. [I believe it was Lowell Cross.] I don’t remember the names of the original people involved. I guess I was mostly working with a salesman whose name I could probably come up with. Anyway we had problems with arcing. The flash lamp would arc over to the base. I mean, it’s amusing because I go so far back in the ruby lasers that I remember putting silver on the ends of the ruby, in my own vacuum system, in which we did our own dispositions, and of course that absolutely went the way of everything as soon as Q-switching was invented, because the power got much too high and blew the silver off the ends of the rubies, so I absolutely date myself if I silvered my own rubies. That was before Q-switching was invented.
From my point of view that’s excellent. And most of the people I’ve been talking to pre-date you.
Right. So in the group at that time of course, there were the two sub-groups, Javan’s and Townes’s, and they were basically working together and sharing facilities. I had some choice. If I had wanted to work with the stuff that Javan was doing I could had done that. The big experiment that Javan and Townes were doing at the time was the Michelson-Morley experiment, to check for whether there’s an ether or not. And somehow I just never was fascinated by these fundamental experiments. Then the other side of it was that at least you could see the ruby laser light, and I thought the red light was fascinatingly beautiful, so I decided that I wanted to work with the lasers you could see. Of course, that was a year or two before they invented the visible helium-neon laser. And I can remember aligning the ruby with an autocollimator. Everybody that doesn’t like to align lasers with helium-neon lasers today should remember what it was like to use an autocollimator! In terms of experiments and what we did, Townes was unbelievably far thinking. At that time people were blowing holes through razor blades with the ruby laser. That was one of the things to do. I tried and failed, actually. I was not very successful at getting a good hole. But he had this idea that he ought to be able to produce X-rays. We did several experiments. He wanted to understand the breakdown in air and so he wanted to set it up so that we could see breakdown, and the power in our laser was just not high enough, and I can remember setting up two confocal lenses inside the cavity to produce a spark.
All this time you were just working with the one ruby laser?
Or beginning to build up?
No, I did my whole Ph.D. thesis — I think eventually we got, I know we got a bigger ruby, and I was trying to remember if that went along with a bigger laser. I think it must have. I think we eventually got a second laser. But we did a tremendous amount of work with the one laser. My favorite stuff was black electrical tape for temporary experiments! The experiments were easy to do then, and I was never one to accumulate a lot of equipment anyway, and with that one laser we could do a tremendous amount of stuff. [No — I believe the whole time at MIT Townes had only one ruby laser.] What interested me about Townes is that he saw right away some important things that that later became research topics. Things like the breakdown in air, what causes it, how does it happen. I set up an X-ray detector, looking for X-rays from the spark, and eventually of course the whole fusion thing took off, but way back then we didn’t see any X-rays. But he already had the concept that you would be getting these very energetic particles out of the spark.
What spark are we talking about?
When you focus a ruby laser beam into the air.
Oh, into the air, OK.
If it’s a super high powered laser beam, you can break down the air. Now, why the air breaks down is a non-trivial question, and it took probably ten years of research to answer that question. I did not pursue that, in fact, because I got off on other things, but that was something that we started on. I built a cell to fill with different gasses to test concepts for sparks.
He came there from Institute for Defense Analysis, and I wonder if that problem might have had any roots in the considerations they were giving to lasers for weapons, ground to air weapons, this sort of thing, and my question really is, do you happen to recall any of the motivations or the connections of that question at that point?
As a graduate student, I think I was totally isolated from that kind of stuff. I was aware of a ruby laser blowing holes in razor blades at American Science and Engineering in Cambridge (through a connection with George Clark at MIT.)
I may be quite wrong. This is speculation.
I would like to think and maybe this is naivete, that he was motivated by the fundamental physics of the problem. At that time he was provost at MIT. He had plans of becoming president of MIT. So the physics he was doing was his hobby and spare time stuff, which made life absolutely delightful. Oh yes, he just loved seeing me and my experimental results because it wasn’t something he had to do, it was something he wanted to do, and I saw him almost every day. I would go after 5 to his office, and I had probably a better personal education than any student he ever had. Ray Chiao and I both. Chiao and I were in the same class together, and I got him involved with Townes because we were in a math class and he was telling me he had this idea about using laser light to accelerate electrons, and it sounded so interesting and exciting, I said, “You really have to talk to Townes about it,” and Ray was a very creative person, and Townes agreed, so Townes took him on, and the two of us then were his only two grad students at MIT, and we spent all four years working terribly close together, just absolutely daily together. In fact, much of our data we took together.
Really? Because I think of Townes as not really participating so much in the data taking.
No, not Townes. I meant Chiao and myself. And then came the time for us to write up our thesis. We then cut the data down the middle and said, “Here, you take that, I’ll take this.” There was, by the way, one other student who came the last year, who was a very important part of that, and that’s Paul Fleury, who has moved on to be very prominent at Bell Labs. The very last year, (1964) Townes wanted access to a very beautiful Fabry-Perot interferometer that someone I think it was Ingaard, had at MIT, and Ingaard was an acoustics person. I may have the name wrong but I think that’s who it was. So in order to have access to this Fabry-Perot, Townes took on his student, Paul Fleury, who turned out to be fantastic, and Ray Chiao and Paul Fleury and I became absolutely inseparable and had magnificent experiences as students together in the early days of lasers.
Now, how did you go from gas breakdown to what’s eventually going to be a lot of stimulated Raman scattering, stuff like that?
Well, let’s see. Actually what happened related to this gas breakdown, and the breakdown issue was the question of breakdown in glasses, which had also been seen. The people at Perkin-Elmer, I can’t remember now those people’s names at all, they had a laser and they focused it into glass, and they saw these tracks that took on and lasted way longer than the diffraction limit would allow you to think they’d last, and in fact, at that time, there were some French people that made a track in air that went for a meter. Of course, the French had more power than we did, because of the fact that we had devoted ourselves to ruby, and the French developed the glass, and glass lasers turned out to have more power than ruby, and so by 1963 probably the French had more power than the Americans. So did the Russians.
The name I picked up on these glass damages, Hercher, Mike Hercher, but I don’t think he was Perkin-Elmer.
He’s at Rochester.
He came later, I think. He’s the person who did that Ph.D. thesis on the ruby laser. You’d better not quote me on that. His Ph.D. thesis was 400 pages long, something like that, gigantically big, and I can remember Townes telling me, “Well, if you don’t understand what you’re doing when you write your Ph.D. thesis, you can end up writing a thesis like this.” Anyway, yes, that’s right, Hercher did some work, but the one that particularly inspired Townes were at Perkin-Elmer. Atwood, John Atwood. That’s a name out of the past.
Has that name come up at all?
Oh yes, he was very important in getting Spectra-Physics into the laser business.
I’m almost positive it was John Atwood. Anyway, in the process of thinking about these tracks, Townes had this idea of self-trapping, which has ultimately come to be called self-focusing, as it was carried on by Paul Kelley, but the self-trapping concept was Townes’s, and —
Now, it was that Townes was studying these things and developed the self-trapping idea, or that you were all talking to each other about it and then the self-trapping idea was developed by Townes, or how did it come about?
No, Townes had this data in front of him from Atwood and places like that, and he was doing his provost thing, and I suppose as he’s driving to and from work and things like that, he thinks about possibilities, and the idea that light could create its own wave guide, and overcome diffraction, is something which I would imagine was original. Certainly I don’t think that either I or Ray Chiao contributed anything to the original idea. I don’t know. It’s hard to know, of course. You go way back and you have to go through it. But I would be very surprised, because we were both I guess just probably second year grad students.
So he came in and talked with you about setting up testing for it?
Well, we didn’t do experiments. The paper was a theoretical one. In fact, of course, it turned out that Akhmanov in the Soviet Union had in fact done it about five year before us. You can never do anything original! And Ray Chiao was a very good theoretician, and Townes had asked him to look for the solution to the non-linear Maxwell’s equations that would propagate uniformly through all space, and so Ray worked out the answer, and what I did was to make estimates about the physical possibilities of measuring these. I looked up electro-striction effects and various nonlinearities to calculate what the power levels would be for the critical power needed. (Townes suggested electro-striction)
It's really less a matter of who gets credit, than it is to see how the work came into existence.
Right. Well, it certainly came into existence from Townes’s wondering about these tracks. Now, at that time, most of the early ideas, on coherent molecular vibrations and on self-trapping of optical beams came from looking at the experimental data taken by others. The other idea, the early paper, etc. was on the stimulated Raman affect, and that came from data that he became aware of through Boris Stoicheff. Bob Terhune had been the first one to see these anti-Stokes rings in the stimulated Raman effect. Boris showed him Bob’s results. [It’s possible that Boris had independent data — I’m not sure.]
Yes, he had gotten the idea that stimulated Raman effects were coherent vibrations after he had heard about the data from Boris Stoicheff, who later came and spent a year with us. At that time he was communicating with him either through phone or mail, I’m not sure which. Anyway, Townes had this idea that the rings that you saw had to come about from wave vector matching, and that in order to get the wave vector matching you had to have coherent excitation, and so that was the paper, first paper I wrote, which was “Coherently Driven Molecular Vibrations,” I think it was named, Garmire, Pandarese and Townes, and — I think that was the theoretical paper.
— here’s a partial list —
— The research for these papers went very fast, and we did these things very fast, Ray Chiao’s name was not on that paper because he was on vacation, and the two weeks he was gone on vacation, we did the whole work.
There were a whole bunch at Harvard at this point working on similar subjects. Were you much in touch with them?
No, they were our friendly competitors, Ron Shen of course and what’s the French guy? Jacques Ducuing and then there was also the one that went on to start, Quantel, I think is the company. Is that the name of the company? He’s the one who did all the holograms of de Gaulle and people, I believe. I’d have to think about what his name is. There was another Frenchman. Anyway we did not interact with them particularly. We were aware of what they were doing only in a vague way and we were competitors.
I expect you were reading their things?
Not really. It did turn out that when I went to write up my Ph.D. thesis, I found that I had strong predominance of experimental work and I wanted to have more theory, and I sat down and read Bloembergen and Shen’s paper on the theory, and included some of that in my thesis. But they were totally independent groups. We didn’t get anything from them. It is kind of interesting. There were some stories. I like to tell my students stories about the times Townes was wrong, because they think that these brilliant people have to always be right. But Townes was wrong several times. The first time he was wrong — actually, Chiao, Garmire and Townes, the Self-trapping paper, had a serious mistake in it, which was his wrong idea about how light worked when it focused, and that was kind of interesting, to find that out. A professor from Wisconsin or something wrote us and pointed out it was wrong. Another time, when I was a beginning grad student and I had this Trion ruby laser, I focused it into a cell of Carbon disulfide (CS2). I started to look for these Raman rings, and I focused the laser into a cell of CS2. I discovered that whether or not I had the cell of CS2 there, the power coming out of my laser changed a factor of ten, and that made absolutely no sense at all. Absolutely impossible that that could be correct, since we thought the CS2 was outside of the optical cavity. And I told Townes and he basically said, “It’s impossible, you must have done the experiment wrong,” and I spent a week and every time I put the cell there, even though I made very sure there was no reflection back into the laser, every time I put the cell in there, the light from the laser increased, so that the light coming from the laser, not from the cell but from the laser, went up a factor of ten. And after a week, I gave up.
Two years later, we discovered the stimulated Brillouin effect, and that explained it all. And so the lesson from all that is, first of all, you can’t discover something before it’s time, and second, don’t go on too long because you’ll never find the answer, and thirdly, don’t forget it if you give up but remember it because maybe you’ll be able to explain it later. And what actually happened is that the light went back into the laser and was amplified. Stimulated Brillouin effect is in fact exactly backward directing. In fact it’s phase-conjugated but we didn’t know it at that time. It went back into the laser but it was shifted in frequency, and since the ruby was inhomogeneously broadened, it was able to get gain in this new wavelength region, and this happened ten times and it just circled itself around and fed back, and that’s why the power was more. Now, we ultimately found that out, because I was doing experiments on the stimulated Raman effect. — In fact, what my thesis was ultimately on this was that the angles in these anti-Stokes lines rings did not agree with what theory said they should be. They did not agree with wave vector matching. And there was no reason why they shouldn’t agree, or so we thought at the time. I spent a lot of time measuring refractive index, very boring, to try to see if the refractive indices reported were wrong. No, they were right, but the angles were off by 10 percent. So we looked at various mechanisms for why they could be wrong. One of the things I set up was the Fabry-Perot to look at line widths, and it was Townes — I can remember this very well. It was on a Saturday morning.
I brought him the Fabry-Perot results from my laser, when the CS2 was present, and he looked at them and he said, “Those lines look fuzzy. Is that fuzz real?” I said, “Aw, you know, just experimental —” He said, “Well, you’d better go back and look at it.” So I expanded up the Fabry-Perot and I looked, and there were in fact all these new lines, and that’s how we discovered the stimulated Brillouin effect. And we realized that not only were these new Brillouin lines, but they were also amplified in this way, and that we got the many orders of them. There’s another funny story connected with that. We had submitted our paper to Applied Physics Letters. A separate manuscript that had been submitted to Physical Review Letters was sent to Stoicheff to review. However, Stoicheff, since he’d been down at MIT, didn’t get it and it got delayed some very very long time. It turned out to be a paper from (Richard) Brewer also on the discovery of the stimulated Brillouin effect.
Our paper ultimately came out before his, and there was some concern about it looking like we had sat on his paper, but it had really been lost, and Brewer became a good friend of mine. In fact we jointly published papers together. So that thing was ultimately smoothed over, but there was a fear of a little problem with that. I guess this is a long way of getting to another thing which I had wanted to say which is related to Shen and the people at Harvard. One of the things I did, in fact really the last thing I did for my Ph.D. thesis or even after my Ph.D. thesis, I can’t remember exactly when, was to look for the self-trapping that we had predicted would happen in CS2. What came out of our ruby laser was very garbagy in its spatial profile. This means that there were many lateral modes. — I mean, it was really a lousy laser in those days. The ruby lasers were really bad. I wanted to get a nice smooth mode profile so that we could look for this self-trapping effect, but Townes said, “Oh well, it will be so obvious that we won’t have to do anything to smooth up the profile.” So I didn’t. But Ron Shen did. And he saw self-trapping before we did, and he published it first and got all the credit. As soon as his paper came out, I went to Townes and said, “See? You were wrong. If you’d only let me smooth up that beam, we could have seen it first!”
I have a couple of questions. One is, I’d like to get as much a feeling as you remember for how some of these things happened, and also things that didn’t happen, that went wrong. Another is that I just wanted to get a little more on Fleury and Ingaard or whatever this person was, how you came to interact with the acoustics people, at what stage.
Yes. Well, Brillouin scattering is in fact scattering of light off an acoustic wave. For the first three years of grad school, we pretty much worked on this stimulated Raman effect. As for the stimulated Brillouin effect, the research occurred while. As a matter of fact, I went on vacation. While I was gone, Townes suddenly understood the concept of stimulated Brillouin scattering. He’d been working with (Norman) Kroll from UCSD, and I think the original idea was Kroll’s about scattering of light off of acoustic waves. Well, Townes carried it on with Chiao, and they ultimately — I can’t remember if they wrote a theoretical paper, but they did an experiment that measured stimulated Brillouin scattering in TGS, triglycine sulfate, and they were the first people to experimentally see stimulated Brillouin scattering. And this was my chance to be out of town and miss having my name on that paper! I was quite bitter about it. [At the time I said this wryly. I wasn't really bitter. I’d had my chance with the coherent molecular vibrations paper.]
— I hope you had a good vacation. [Said as a joke in response to my wry comment.]
Eventually we had to decide. We had to separate the world between Garmire and Chiao, to decide how we were going to write our theses, and I, fool that I was, decided to write on liquids, let him do solids, because somehow liquids were amorphous and therefore I thought they’d be easier. [They also weren't apparently damaged by high power lasers like solids were. Little did I know about self-focusing!] So he did stimulated Brillouin scattering in this TGS. He also did stimulated Raman scattering in calcite, wrote a paper on that. I proposed doing the stimulated experiment in liquids and they agreed. I experimentally studied simulated Raman scattering in liquids, and this is where I discovered these angles not matching theory, and gave my first technical paper at an APS meeting in Washington. It must have been probably ‘63 or ‘64. I had realized that there was something wrong with the stimulated Raman affect in liquids. It wasn’t working right. [The emission angles were off from the theoretical predictions by ten percent.] This was before anything self-trapping had been invented.
Townes had convinced me I should submit an abstract for the APS meeting in 1963 the minute we saw the anti-stokes rings. He said, “I understand them, it’s coherently driven molecular vibrations, “that’s the thing.” So he said, “Let’s submit an APS paper on that,” so we APS wrote an abstract for the APS meeting that said, “We understand what’s going on, it’s coherent molecular vibrations.” Well, between the time we submitted that abstract and the time of the meeting, I’d suddenly realized that it was all wrong. The angles were wrong. We got strange frequencies out, great smearing of the output measured in a spectrometer. There was something fundamentally that we didn’t understand. Meanwhile, the people from Hughes; McClung and Hellwarth and Bill Wagner, Gisela Eckhardt, they all had their names on a similar paper which was also submitted on the stimulated Raman effect, except that in the abstract they were reporting all the strange results that were being seen about frequency shifts and strange angles. By the time of the conference, I realized I was observing the same results. Our papers were back to back. Mine was first. I got up and I gave all these results. Bill Wagner, who was the one there to give the paper, got up and said, “Well, I’ve just heard my paper given so I have nothing more to say,” and sat down. Not literally, just figuratively, he gave his paper anyway. I was proud I’d beat them to reporting. [He and I went out to dinner afterwards, so there was no animosity!] One other point concerning that meeting, being the first one I’d ever gone to, that was my first experience with the chairman saying, “Oh, I’m so delighted to see we have such a beautiful young woman here to give a paper!” — which of course would never be said today, but that’s the thing that was said back then. A minor point, by the way, talking about that, occurred when I went to the Physics of Quantum Electronics Conference in 1965.
Was that the Phoenix conference?
No, it was in Puerto Rico. That was the one in Puerto Rico.
That was your first of those?
That was the first of those, right, and I was eight months pregnant, among other things.
That was your first child?
It was my first child. I had gotten my Ph.D. No, I hadn’t gotten my Ph.D., that’s right. I was still working on it, because I got my child and my Ph.D. the same week. Anyway, I was the only woman, except I wasn’t really the only woman. They thought I was the only woman at the meeting. Actually, Mary Warga was there also, and the person who got up to start the whole meeting off, and I don’t remember who it was, stood up and said, “Gentlemen and Mrs. Garmire.” Oh, I was so embarrassed! Here I was a grad student, eight months pregnant, being introduced and “Gentlemen and Mrs. Garmire,” really blew me away! I can also remember another story about that. Most everybody knew that I was pregnant, obviously, except that I met Willis Lamb in the elevator, and he said, “Oh, I’m so glad to meet you. I’ve been reading your papers with such interest.” It just blew me away, here I am a graduate student and a Nobel Prize winner comes up to me and says that. And then he said, “Is it Miss or Mrs. Garmire?” And I’m standing here eight months pregnant and I’m thinking, “My goodness!” Somebody told me since that he had tunnel vision, and they would explain why he hadn’t seen beyond my chest.
The graduate years sound very sort of happy and unselfconscious, and my question about what it was like to be at MIT at that time might simply be irrelevant.
OK, a couple of things. I was married. I started out married, and that meant that I could be one of the boys. There wasn’t an issue of being available to the boys. I was the only girl, as far as I can recall. My husband was also a grad student there, and we’d go in the morning and we’d stay and go home late at night, and it was very much devoted to physics. The fact that I was a woman was relatively irrelevant, I believe. At home I certainly lived the standard sexist life. I did all the cooking and my husband would read the paper while I cooked dinner, after we’d both been graduate students. There was just never any question of anything else. Also, my thesis had its doldrums. The third year, when these angles didn’t come out right, in these damn stimulated Raman effects, before we discovered all the other stuff going on, it was a very very slow year, and I got involved in campus politics. I got involved in Scientists and Engineers for Johnson and who was his running mate? Humphrey? Scientists and Engineers for Johnson and Humphrey, and did a whole bunch of politicking. I also got pregnant, I think partly because I was bored with the graduate student life which was going on forever. But then as I began to grow, the need to finish my Ph.D. thesis got more and more profound, and it was really luck, one day. See, I had made up my mind that my Ph.D. thesis would be explaining the angles that weren’t right. And it was luck one day that I discovered what was in fact going on, and that was literally having a result which was unexpected and that noticed and looked at in some detail.
What was that?
Well, I can show you pictures and get it across. These are my laboratory books. The stimulated Raman affect gave out rings, and typically the rings we would get would be the wrong angle. Then one day, out of the blue, I was looking at the data, (there should be a picture here that would show this), and suddenly there was a small piece of light that came at the right angle. This may not show it. This is the kind of data that I used anyway. Suddenly there was a little arc in some of the pictures at the right angle, and what had happened is that I had had a cell that apparently had two parallel windows — referring to a picture that shows basically what happened, although at that time I didn’t understand the picture. I’d had a cell and the two ends of the cell that were parallel started acting as a mirror and feeding back the light. What it was that I had set up mirrors that would allow me to get the plane wave solution in spite of self-focusing. What had happened was that self-focusing, which we didn’t know about then, was dominating everything and until I could set up mirrors to really enhance the plane wave solutions, I didn’t see the plane wave solutions. As soon as I realized that, I could write my thesis, and I was basically done, so I did realize it in time. If my daughter hadn’t been three weeks late I would probably never have finished my thesis. I wrote like mad for those last three weeks. Ultimately I stopped writing the day I went to the hospital. At that time I was in the last chapter and tying up loose ends. I proof-read the typing in the hospital and came back two weeks later, for my thesis defense. It was the first time many of the professors had seen me small again.
Now, being married is not sounding as if it’s making very much difference between you and any other male physicist. What about having a child? At this point you were about to go into a year of post-doctoral?
No, I wasn’t. I was going to stay home and raise my children. I got my Ph.D. with no plans. I had a baby. I was going to be a housewife. My ultimate role model was a woman who had a Ph.D. in astronomy — had five children. Her daughter was a good friend of mine as a child. She gave up a career and she raised those five children. When the last one grew up and went away from home, she went back to work. And that was my plan.
I would think that the men who were working with you, like Townes, would have objected to that. Or did they just regard it as none of their business? You know, this thing that you usually get, that we don’t want to train women because they’re just going to drop out and have children.
I think they felt that if you have children, that’s what you should do. I don’t know. I never asked Townes. It never really came up. He has four daughters. What I do know is, I went home and at the end of six weeks I was going batty. In fact, probably it must have been before that. If I only stayed home for six weeks, I must have called him up after about three weeks and said, “Can’t you find a post-doc for me? I can’t stand this.” He arranged for me to be able to come back and work, by pulling some strings, because he didn’t have post-doc money readily available, but he arranged for me to go to work at the NASA Electronics Research Center which had just opened, and which was across the street from MIT, and arranged for them to pay me but for me to work in my lab at MIT, so I was in fact a civil service employee although I continued to work at MIT and basically did all my work there. I can’t remember the issue of children ever being discussed with him. I do know that when I came to Cal Tech, there were a number of people — at the time I came to Cal Tech, they were not yet admitting women students — telling me why they didn’t want to admit women students, because women never did anything with their education, and they would say that to me and then they’d say, “Oh well, you’re different,” I also recently found the letter that I wrote to (Amnon) Yariv when I applied for the job to work there, and I said, “I’m a housewife with a small child. I don’t have any career goals. I just want to keep myself occupied doing science.”
Now, before we leave MIT I had this question about Peter Avizonis, I want to track it down. Bob Seidel, the man who is doing the classified side of this project, when I said I was going to come here, said, “Oh yes, she worked with Avizonis at Air Force Weapons Lab while she was doing the nonlinear work at MIT.” Is that correct?
Well, I don’t know. It’s entirely possible that he funded that effort. But I certainly didn’t work directly with him. I do know that he’s been very friendly to me and acted as if he knew me, and maybe he does know me more than I realized. I can’t always remember. I was totally unaware of, uninterested in, paid no attention to the whole funding situation. If I’d known how important funding was to science, I probably would have chosen another field to go into. No, I was really unaware of that at all.
Now, all this time, knowing pretty —
— oh, there, I didn’t see this question on the question list. You’d already heard about the acoustics group. That was from Fleury?
No, Townes when I spoke with him vaguely remembered but didn’t remember the details.
Well, of course Paul Fleury could give you the real answer. There was a little more to the story, OK. These three years, I was saying that Chiao was doing crystals and I was doing liquids, and we were doing stimulated Raman effects, and Brillouin effects, OK. After three years of being in graduate school, Townes took us both over to the MIT Commons for a beer. I can remember this so well. And he served us beer. He rarely did that. And then he said, “Now, you’ve both been fabulously good. You’ve done wonderful work. You’ve done enough to get Ph.D.s right now — and you’ve also worked very closely with me,” because Chiao and I used to go to him essentially every day. He said, “I think it would be a good idea for you each to do something on your own, and not come to see me so often.” So it was decided that Chiao would do the spontaneous Brillouin scattering in liquids, measured with Ingaar’s Fabry-Perot along with Fleury, and that I would figure out what was the angle problem with these liquids, and so we then stayed this extra year, each of us, although he’d said in principle we’d done enough. So at that point there was a slight re-direction about who did what, and Chiao ended up doing the spontaneous Brillouin scattering.
So that’s when that question of the angles became the subject of your thesis.
Yes. Well, we were just not really worrying too much about thesis, just taking data and having a ball. I don’t think there was a big necessity to worry too much about what the specifics of the thesis were. We were publishing papers like mad and really enjoying science.
Then as far as your professional world goes, the APS was clearly one group that you were joining.
Yes. I don’t remember any strong interaction with any technical organizations particularly. I formally joined the APS, but it didn’t have any impact on my life one way or the other. Javan and Townes were both good people and there was a lot of good work going on. At the same time my husband was in an astronomy group there, and they were a very close-knit group. They were building satellites and they used to eat lunch together every day. I used to eat with them because our group didn’t have that same real focus. It was somewhat more scattered; people each doing his or her own thing. Well [looking at the list of questions] “how was the work divided?”
You answered much of that, I think.
Yes, I think so. Stoicheff came and he and Chiao did the calcite work. He and I didn’t get along too well. He was somewhat of the old school. He didn’t think women should be quite as aggressive as I am. I think he’s come to mellow or he’s come to think I’ve mellowed, and we get along pretty well right now but I don’t think he really had much patience for me back then. I was a pretty outspoken person, and there were some problems in the group, and every time there was a problem I would be very vocal about it and go to Townes with it and lay it out to him, what the problems were.
Problems in working together?
Yes, and I don’t mean Chiao and Stoicheff. There were a bunch of other visitors and there was some competition with some other groups. Benedek had competition going with Stoicheff, and their graduate students were told not to talk to each other. There was a lot of various things. There were various post-doc who didn’t feel like they fitted in and one who literally, I believe, listened at keyholes, things which I’ve heard happened at Columbia also. And there were a number of negative experiences, and I used to run to Townes with them all, then somehow or other a lot of people thought I was the focus of a lot of those negative experiences. Well, I left a year before Townes did, and I gather that they got a lot worse after I left, so I don’t think that I made them worse. I think in fact I helped keep them from getting worse. People would come with post-doc there and have to make a contribution in a year, and it’s often very hard to do that. And people’s ideas. I know there was one particular project that I thought was mine as a grad student and I suddenly found that a post-doc had not only done it but submitted a paper on it unbeknownst to me. Things like that.
That’s interesting. That’s something that hadn’t come to my attention.
Well, again, people don’t normally talk about it. And I don’t think it’s appropriate to name names. I could, but I won’t.
I think it’s not inappropriate to understand that that going on was part of the general —
— well, actually, all of them, the ones I’m thinking of with respect to that, have gone on to become well-known…(off tape) People were very aggressive and have gone on to do good works. What it was a symptom of is, when you have a lot of aggressive people in a field that’s wide open, everybody wants to jump in, and how to divide up the pie is not always easy. And having later been a post-doc, I’ve learned to have a lot more understanding for the problems of post-doc, compared to grad students. I can say one other thing. I think I was a very much better experimentalist than Chiao was, and I used to have to — kind of stand over him and make sure that he did the experiments well. I think he learned how to do them very much, but Paul Kelley can tell stories about remembering coming up the stairs and hearing me yell, “Hey, Ray, don’t do that!” But we were like brother and sister. It was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it.
Now, all this time with this kind of forthright stance you were taking, were you changing your feeling about where woman and men stood?
You don’t understand: that’s a question that just didn’t exist. There was no such thing as a question like that. I mean an absolutely unheard of question. I think I was having personal difficulties in figuring out how to integrate the various parts of my life. But the fact that there might be other women out there too, to role from, just didn’t exist. Piece of past information, by the way, that I might throw out. I spent two summers at Argonne National Lab. I had an opportunity to work with Louise Meyer-Schutz-Meister, a physicist from University of Chicago. Schutz-Meister I read about her when she died, Louise Meyer Schutz-Meister, she was married to Peter Meyer, and apparently she was an absolutely phenomenally successful role model for women, dearly adored by all the women students she had. But I was too young and too arrogant, and it was before any of the women’s movement or anything, and I just didn’t want to be working with women. I really had very little respect for myself as a woman or therefore, for other women. Although as a child, I was fascinating by Madame Curie’s story and wanted to be another Marie Curie, of course.
So you came to Cal Tech just to occupy your time. Was your husband going to Cal Tech?
He was a professor at Cal Tech, an assistant professor. He was two years ahead of me. He became an assistant professor at MIT while I was still a grad student, and then he carne out to Cal Tech. He carne out temporarily as a visiting professor, and I, at the time, decided about the various options. I went out to Hughes. I interviewed at Hughes. I interviewed at EOS which at that time had been a very prominent laser place.
EOS is Electrical —?
Electro-Optical Systems. It died scientifically very rapidly after 1965 but it had had some track record in doing various nonlinear stuff. Anyway, I was impressed by Yariv and I went to Cal Tech and worked with Yariv and worked part time.
Just that you were impressed with him or that you also found his work related to yours or what?
Well, the choices at Cal Tech were Yariv and Nick George, and Yariv impressed me very much more. I just liked, still do, liked the way he talks physics. He really seems to understand what he’s doing and I liked that.
Well, the fact that you were part time explains to me, the fact that I noticed there that there were many fewer papers per year in the Cal Tech period than before and after.
Right. Yes. And when I went to Cal Tech, at that time money was just flowing like mad and Yariv had one half of one laboratory with one optical table, and he said, “Here’s $50,000, buy anything you want,” and $50,000 in those days was a hell of lot of money. I bought a ruby laser. Trion had been sold.
Yes, they only lasted a few years.
I bought it from the company, Space Rays. I bought a Space Rays laser, yes.
You’re the first person I’ve spoken to who dealt with them. What was it like?
I’m trying to remember why I bought it. There was something I liked a good deal about it but I can’t remember exactly any more why I liked it. Because the laser was cut at Brewster’s angle so no AR coatings were needed. Also it was an open, modular construction. I think it may have been that it was, you could take it apart in pieces. I’m not quite sure. I can’t really remember. Anyway, I began working there on mode locking and ultra-short pulses.
One thing I asked was any comparisons you think are interesting between Townes’s group and Yariv’s group or between the ways in which they were organized, or the spirit.
As I began Yariv’s “group” was me and one graduate student — Navin Patel. Much smaller, much less outward-looking. Let me tell you something, by the way, actually, I remember, speaking of Bloembergen versus Townes. At the Physics of Quantum Electronics Conference in Puerto Rico, Ray Chiao and I sat in the front row. I guess Townes did too. And were constantly asking questions the whole meeting, just all the time. And I guess Bloembergen’s students were sitting near the back and kept quiet and whole time. And somebody commented on the difference between Bloembergen’s students and Townes’s students, and their visibility at the conference.
Of course coming at it from the outside, the Bloembergen group and the Townes group seem to have such different styles of pursuing nonlinear optics.
Well, Townes was extremely supportive, unbelievably supportive of his students. He was unbelievably supportive of everybody. He was really an amazing person. I say “was” because I really haven’t worked with him recently. I would watch somebody come in, let’s say, some visitor who had some half crackpot idea, would come in, start telling this idea, and me as an arrogant graduate student, within five minutes could tell that the idea was crackpot, and I would just be ready to tear this guy to shreds. And Townes would sit there very quietly and let this person present his whole case, and then he would very gently begin to lead this person to see where he had gone wrong and that his idea wouldn’t work. He just never ever put anybody down. It was just amazing. I felt so incredibly powerful. I don’t think I ever felt as powerful as when I worked with Townes.
Now, one would guess that Townes must have had some mechanism for enforcing rather high standards. Is that a correct way to look at him?
Oh, I don’t think so at all. Again it goes along with the fact that — I mean, he was just incredibly supportive. I don’t think he ever put anybody down. Now, what he might do is ask them to continue on and investigate further. Townes had high standards. I had high standards. Ray Chiao had very high standards. I think we personally had very high standards. Certainly Paul Fleury did. So Townes had surrounded himself with students of high standards. He first of all taught quality, and one of the things that was devastating to me when I left was that I knew what high quality work was, and I wasn’t sure that I would be able to do it on my own. I had seen what top quality work was and I knew that I never would be able to do it. I recently saw the movie “Amadeus.” My experience very much relates to a movie like “Amadeus,” to really know the difference between quality work and what I personally can do. And I mean, I know that I’m no Townes. As a graduate student I was very arrogant and I was unwilling to admit that he was maybe all that bright. He always used classical equations to derive everything, never used quantum mechanics, and I decided that he just didn’t know quantum mechanics. So one day I said, “I want to see this done by quantum mechanics.” He said, “But you don’t have to. If you’ve got a lot of photons around it’s basically a classical system.” I said, “I want to see it quantum mechanically.” So he started at the board and he derived it all out on the board, filled the whole thing with quantum mechanics, got the answer in the end which was the classical equation. And I just sat there and went, “Oh,” and I never again said that Townes didn’t know what he was doing. It’s like Picasso. You know, you have to go through all this period of detailed drawing before you can take a simple pencil and draw a simple line. Townes really projected to his students and post-docs and everybody around him this incredible understanding of what really quality work is.
Well, you know, this explains some of the affection you get when you speak with Townes’s students. I’ve spoken with a number of them. They really seem to feel very strongly bound to him one way or another.
Well, I do. Of course he had four daughters. I was the first woman he had went and finished and got a Ph.D., and he was quite, I think, quite pleased with me. He was very supportive. I think he liked me. I may have sometimes caused him troubles but basically he was really very supportive. The situation at Cal Tech was really very different. And it’s difficult to talk about that. I was having a lot of problems in a lot of different ways. Yariv was needing help, and I helped build up the laboratory, which was not in any kind of a shape to do anything. There was not really the support at all for… And of course, you can put this on the record, I have nothing but bitter hatred for all of Cal Tech. Most women I know that have been at Cal Tech feel that same way. I mean, it was not just Yariv’s group, it was the whole experience of being at this male bastion.
Both formal rules and informal attitudes? Were there formal rules?
I don’t think there were any very specific formal rules. The attitude of Cal Tech that permeates everybody and everything is, you’re not good enough. And the students feel that way. We have many students that come here [Univ. of Southern California] having been burned out by Cal Tech. There’s a very strong feeling there about, you’re not good enough. I got that over and over again, which is one of the reasons why — and I guess maybe you don’t know that from this resume or maybe you’ve heard about it from other people, which is why I got involved in art.
I know that you got involved in art.
I put a very large amount of energy into that for a long period of time and came very close to giving up science altogether, because science was not fulfilling at all at Cal Tech. I will say that I think Yariv had a lot of patience with me. I think there was a period of two or three years when I was essentially non-productive, and money was plentiful, so it was easy for him to keep me on, and I was very cheap, being paid as a very low level part time post-doc, and I was also really thinking that I was kind of hanging onto a job while I raised children. There’s some element of that, although I did try teaching, the possibility of becoming a teacher, and I felt that teaching was a disaster and I quit before I even finished the year. I mean, that’s where I think, had there been a women’s movement and had there been some knowledge of what was going on, I could have used a hell of a lot of support. I was really unsupported. I ultimately got divorced, and of course I know now that my husband wanted a housewife. He has married a housewife. He had — However, we continued to do exciting and interesting research somehow, and managed to keep the research going in spite of it all.
About the mode-locking work there, was that something that we should be pursuing?
Well, the mode-locking, my first paper, in the sense that it was the first paper I had done by myself, that paper on saturable absorbers, this first one here, laser mode-lock, was 100 percent my work and it was the first time I’d really done anything on my own.”
That’s the paper with the little pulse?
Theoretical paper, right, with the pulse shaping (crosstalk) — and I was quite pleased with that piece of work because it was really my own idea and my own working out. I think Yariv had said, “Think about this problem,” because he’d worked on mode-locking in a different context, so I’d thought about that problem. I was terrified going to Cal Tech. I was given, as I said, all this money and an empty desk, and told “Create, do anything you want.” At that time Yariv was very much into writing his first books and not really doing much research, and it was like anything I wanted to do was great with him. And that was just so stultifying it was terrible! It would have been much better, I think, if I’d gone into a laboratory where there was all kinds of work going on that I could have helped with. This was really the beginning of his laboratory. From that point of view it was exciting to watch the growth of it, but it was a terrifying experience. I had this experimental observation of mode-locking — yes, I actually helped with the mode-locking. I also had some pretty bad experience, about the fact that I had come to some conclusions about these short pulses, and Yariv basically didn’t believe me and he didn’t want me to do anything about it, and then later it was published by Michael Duguay. It was basically the idea that seeing an overlap of the two photon fluorescence doesn’t necessarily mean that there is in fact a pulse there. You have to look at the ratio of intensities to determine that. I remember very well, it was a very important announcement Duguay made at the Florida Quantum Electronics Conference, the one in Miami, and I didn’t give a paper at all there because Yariv hadn’t believed my results and I hadn’t had enough guts to publish them on my own! It was the first time in my life that I felt suicidal!
Did that bring you into the whole community of mode locker like De Maria and Harris?
Well, I knew De Maria from MIT. He had invented his mode locking about the time that we were at MIT. He came and visited Ray Chiao and myself. We got along very well. As I recall, when I first meet him he didn’t even have his Ph.D. yet. He had gone back to school after being in industry and was getting it part time while working. He liked us and we liked him. We came down to United Aircraft and I can remember seeing the lab and visiting back then. During this time I was not really involved, when I was at Cal Tech in the early days, in close friendships with other scientists. I think it was pretty much an isolated environment for me, I think all through that period. Of course I had small children and I wasn’t free to travel. I had my second kid in ‘68. So that’s one reason why there aren’t many papers. I was having babies and doing a lot of other things.
Have you always been a musician, by the way?
That’s on your resume. In fact your resume, as I said in one of these questions, is unusual and I was curious about it, because either you have a different sense of what should be on a resume or you’ve followed a different career pattern.
No, I sent that to you. It was something I had written for a possible award, which I didn’t get, as a woman of achievement, and so it was woman-oriented and it had a bottom paragraph on it that isn’t normally on my resume. I thought you’d like to see it so that’s why.
OK, I just misinterpreted it. I said to myself, “She’s either trying to say something about what a life should consist of or else…” — did you feel that your extra-physics activities were very different from those of your colleagues, or just this was an opportunity? I mean, I do not generally see resumes which have, I guess it’s violist and work in arts and —
Oh, I think there have been studies that have shown that women tend to have more broad diverse activities. However, I know lots of men that do too. I have very broad interests and I tend to do an awful lot of things. One thing I’ve learned about myself is, I have an incredible amount of energy. And I frankly was relatively stifled or feeling unsuccessful technically for a number of years, probably ‘65 to ‘70 or to ‘72. And so I put a lot of energy into a lot of other things, started a day care center, did a whole lot of other things besides science. I lost almost all my self confidence about ability to come up with any ideas and do something. That turned around abut 1970, when I suddenly got the idea of studying wave guides in ion implanted gallium arsenide, and I can remember that very well. I was sitting on a certain desk in a certain laboratory, and the idea just came to me, and it was like the first real scientific idea I’d had in about five years, and it just meant so much to me. It meant hey, you don’t have to give up yet! There are still ideas out there that you might have. I wrote a proposal. Yariv had come to me and said, “Well, really don’t want to keep supporting you. You’ve been around long enough and you’re not really doing all that much, why don’t you go get another job or go home and raise your children?” I said, “But I just had this idea,” which I’d literally had only about a month before, and he said, “Well, all right. You write a proposal and if it gets funded you can stay.” So I wrote a proposal to do wave guiding in gallium arsenide and submitted it to the National Science Foundation, and it’s actually the very first newly funded project in Schutzman’s optical communications integrated optics program. And it was a proposal which I wrote 100 percent myself. In fact Yariv didn’t even read it. I know that because it got submitted right away. It didn’t have my name on it because that was not legal at Cal Tech, because I was not a regular faculty member. Anyway, it was accepted and so I did get to stay and do that work, and it was really the beginning of, I suppose, my career development. I suppose you could say I had a five year hiatus when things were pretty rough, but starting with the integrated optics, things began to work very well, and I wrote my first proposal and it was funded and I began to develop a lot more sense of confidence.
That’s a very, I think, female-connected five year hiatus. I mean, whatever else was involved in it, certainly the fact that you were raising children and the attitudes at Cal Tech seem to have a lot to do with it.
Yes, there’s no doubt about that. It was by no means Yariv personally but it was just the entire aura of male bastion connected with Cal Tech that was just incredibly difficult to take. And I continue to hear that to this day from women who were there.
Now, all this time you’re referring to the attitudes you had in those old days. When did you start to change your attitudes?
Well, It’s interesting. I’m not sure I can exactly remember. I’ve been recently interested in whether or not I got involved in the women’s movement before or after my divorce. Or my separation. And I’m really not sure which, as a matter of fact. I’m certain I was aware of them. But I think that’s probably all. I think I did not really get involved until 1974. In ‘73-‘74, we went around the world. I worked at ITT Telecommunications Laboratories in England for six months, and came back and got divorced. It turned out my husband had a girl friend back home who was the wife of a physics professor at Cal Tech, another physics professor at Cal Tech, and when we got back home he moved in with her instead of me. Very very devastating. Meanwhile, while I’d been in England, Yariv had written me a letter and said, don’t come back, although I was officially on leave of absence.
This was after the ion implantation.
Yes, this was ‘73.
And you’d already been working a little bit on integrated optics.
Oh yes, and I did some work on it in England while was there. So it was a terribly devastating time for me. Absolutely unbelievably devastating. And I ended up here at USC, due to the kindness of Jack Marburger, who in my absolute devastation—I had no husband and no job — I called up Marburger and he said, “Come over here.” I shouldn’t be mean, however. The dean at Cal Tech had made me an offer also. I had an opportunity to stay at Cal Tech. Not as a faculty member, of course. There was no way I could be a faculty member. But it was an opportunity to stay as a research scientist there. So unfortunately, you know, that was kind of a very bad time. But then I came here and began to develop —
You came here as a regular faculty member?
No, I came here two days a week as a research fellow. Again I was very frightened of being a faculty member. I really didn’t want to do that. And I had made up my mind I just wanted to do research. I don’t know, I didn’t think I was good enough or whatever. So I came here and did research, and watched myself develop into a career woman. I mean, it was nothing that I was programmed to be. And now I’m an absolute ardent career woman and love it, but I did not grow up with that expectation. You asked about the women’s movement. I got involved in the National Organization for Women and went through consciousness raising and stuff like that. I think it was right after my husband left which would have made it ‘74, the fall of ‘74 and the spring of ‘75. Yes, I’m sure that’s when I first went. I started working here. I also worked part time at the Aerospace Corporation. I couldn’t decide which place I wanted to be, and the woman that I worked with at Aerospace Corporation was a flaming feminist, and she was a big inspiration to me. Judy Osmer.
They have quite a few woman there?
They’re getting more. This woman has had a suit filed against Aerospace Corporation for the last ten years, on salary discrimination, and her room-mate was the founding president of LA NOW, so they were really Avant Garde feminists…
All right, we’re returning after a seminar.
I just remembered a time when Weber was claiming the invention of the laser maser. This must have been about ‘63 or so. It’s funny, Gould was a name that almost never came up when I was a student, but Weber was the name that was the big deal back about ‘63, and Townes wrote a footnote to an article he was writing in which he claims he described exactly Weber’s contribution. I can’t remember what the article was. And basically he gave Weber credit for exactly what Weber did, also made the point that Weber didn’t understand again the context, this whole context, and I remember him saying, “The scientific record is clear.” And I think he said that again when Gould won the patent situation. Gould was really a non-existent thought back in ‘63 to ‘65. I guess it came up — there is always this question of what happens when graduate students are around and hear ideas being thrown around, and certainly the statements I got from Townes were very much that Gould happened to be around, and hear a lot of the ideas going on. And I don’t think that Townes personally gave any credence at all to Gould’s having independently had these ideas.
Well, OK. I would like to go…
OK, but let me just say here, [reading from the list] “Were there any nepotism rules at Cal Tech?” There were nepotism rules everywhere. My husband and I applied to the University of Maryland when we both got our Ph.D.s. At that time it was agreed that he could be professor of physics if I would be professor of electrical engineering. …The idea was that, you know, two people married in a department would give too much power to one family. That sounded reasonable to me. I didn’t fight them. The thought that two people could be married and both have careers —
— and think independently, did not exist. [Quoting from question list!] “Laser science is a very competitive field. I’d be interested to hear how you related to its competitive mess.”
I’m an extraordinarily competitive person. I always have been. I was a second daughter and managed to totally trounce my older sister, who became a housewife. Either the first child excels, or the second one gets terribly competitive and manages to trounce the first, and I was the latter, so I loved the competitiveness of lasers. I also partly chose it on purpose. I had friends, women, who were majoring in elementary particle physics, and I knew that that was not a very portable degree, and I knew that lasers were going to be a very exciting and upcoming field and would be very portable, and I could work anywhere and do laser work.
But at the same time you told me earlier that you sort of wandered into Townes because you were trying to get away from your first —
Yes, well, sure, but I had already decided and certainly was interested in basically solid state physics. I mean, I didn’t wander over to talk to professors doing other things. It was the area generally of solid state physics, which to me represented enough practical and enough basic that that’s what I wanted to do. So I would not have wandered into the door of a nuclear physicist and gone into nuclear physics.
I see. There is a kind of evolution in your work (I believe, I may be quite wrong) from the more purely scientific problems to the more applied. Is that correct?
That’s certainly true. And there are several reasons for that. I do know that when I got done with Townes, I did do some thinking about, for example, spectroscopy, which was one of his big loves, but I realized that to be a spectroscopist you have to care about the things that are doing the emitting of light, and I really knew nothing about it. I ended up not knowing very much except lasers, and therefore the field that was most obvious to go into was the development of lasers. At Cal Tech, I didn’t have, I don’t think, a whole lot of freedom to do anything I wanted. I had freedom to think along the lines that were dictated by the general interests of Yariv. I notice over here you ask a question about an article I wrote by myself, “Optical Wave Guides in Single Layers.” That had nothing to do with education. One of the things that was so difficult when I was so many years as a post-doc was trying to get the world to understand that I could do some things on my own, to identify things that I really felt responsible for, and so the papers that I did author alone or without Yariv were very important to me. One of the things I had a tremendous difficulty with, and this I’m willing to put on the tape, was a paper on the optical wave guides in gallium arsenide by ion implantation, which was the idea that I had had and that I had written a proposal on. I did the experiment. I saw the results. I wrote up the paper and I sent it in for publication without Yariv’s name on it and without telling him because I knew he wouldn’t approve of it. And he found out about it and he wrote the editors and insisted his name go on the paper. And of course in retrospect I realized that, if you’re going to run a research lab group as a professor, that’s one of the things you get. You get your name on the papers. And I understand Yariv’s point of view, now. But at the time I had a lot of trouble with it because I knew that I needed to establish a reputation in my own name, and whenever his name was on a paper people didn’t think of it as really independently mine.
That’s right. It’s very hard when you look at these papers to decide who was the author.
Right. Well, I could go through every paper and tell you whose idea it was and who did the work, etc. It’s all very clear in my head.
That’s one of the functions of the oral interviews, because you find people’s names on a paper and they just happen to.
OK, well, let’s just go down the list for fun. Garmire, Panderese and Townes. Pandarese was a visitor from Italy who spoke no English, worked with me for I think a total of six weeks. He learned to speak English and I learned to speak English very very slowly when you have visitors, and I am now an expert on speaking to foreigners! Obviously the coherently driven molecular vibrations was totally Townes’s idea. This was 1963. I had entered fall of ‘61, so very much I was a relatively young student. I don’t even know if I even wrote any of the paper, but I certainly checked the calculations. I felt very involved. I felt that Pandarese didn’t deserve his name on the paper, but because he was there, he got on anyway. “Self Trapping of Optical Beams,” Chiao, Garmire and Townes, Townes had the idea, we did talk about that one. “Stimulated Brillouin Scattering in Liquids,” we actually talked about that, that’s the one that I observed accidentally, and of course as you so rightly said, when we published it and it didn’t sound like it was accidental. It sounded like it was on purpose. “The Angular Distribution of Stimulated Raman Scattering in Liquids,” this was the paper that my Ph.D. thesis was basically all about, which was the discovery of what it took to do it right. I was very proud to have my name alone — I’d been very much one of these egocentric students. I had a very big ego. My name alone meant that I did it without any help from Townes, which was absolutely true, although of course normally as the professor he would have had his name on it, so it was very gracious of him to let me do it without his name. I sent it to PHYS REV LETTERS and they turned it down.
Did they say why?
They turned it down because I had given this talk at APS meeting in which the abstract had said, “We understand it,” even though when I went to give the talk we didn’t, so they turned it down, and Townes wrote a letter saying, “This is good work, publish it,” and they still wouldn’t publish it. So I published it in PHYSICS LETTERS. Now, I always wrote all my papers as “E. Garmire” because I was absolutely convinced they would not respect work by a woman, so they presumably did not know I was a woman, so I can’t use that as an argument as to why it didn’t get published.
There are a lot of incidents like that with PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, beginning with Maiman’s —
It either proves that if you don’t have Townes name on it you don’t get it published, or that it’s a bad idea to publish an abstract on something that isn’t right because then it’s hard to correct it two years later. So that’s that. “Stimulated Four-Photon Interaction,” Chiao, Kelley and Garmire, that was a very fun paper that took place with Chiao and Kelley and Garmire meeting and talking over a long period of time, when I was a post-doc, Chiao was an assistant professor and Kelley was at Lincoln wishing like anything he could be a faculty member at MIT, and I can remember our discussions at the blackboard working it out. It was polite of them to put me on that paper. I’m not sure how much I really contributed to that but it was very nice of them to include me. This very long IEEE paper that had Garmire, Chiao, Johnson, Krinsky, Smith, Townes, there’s a name missing there, that also had … Brewer. No, I’m sorry, I’m wrong about this paper, this is a different paper —
Brewer doesn’t go on?
Right, that’s a different one. Oh, that’s down here. This one was totally my work, I felt, “A New Class of Trapped Light Filaments,” I discovered experimentally through some extremely fine experiments with optical resolution of a few microns. We were observing these nanosecond pulses, and I saw these bright little spots. I’m very proud of that work, and I felt it was mostly my work. Chiao of course had been working with me all along. Johnson, Krinsky and Smith were three undergraduates who were doing undergraduate work on MIT theses with me at the time. “Dynamics and Characteristics of the Self-Trapping of Intense Light Beams,” I’m also extraordinarily proud of that. I feel it was all my work. Doesn’t mean I resent the other names at all, but we’re talking about who really did the work. This unfortunately was after Ron Shen had done it and got all the credit for being first, but I did probably some of the work I’m most proud of, in which I put a bunch of little beam splitters in the beam and pulled out a bunch of little images and watched the beam as it progressed through the CS2, watched it develop. They are gorgeous pictures, I’m so proud of it, really love them. I really took some pictures I’m very proud of. “Stimulated Raman Scattering in Liquids,” that was essentially a condensation of my Ph.D. thesis that appeared in the book THE PHYSICS OF QUANTUM ELECTRONICS. And then there was one more done with Townes after I was at Cal Tech. Done with Brewer in Phys. Rev.? We were talking about writing a book. We never really got around to it.
I saw part of that manuscript in Townes’s —
— yes, that may be, and he had wanted me to do it, but by that time I purposely chose to leave him and go into different kind of work. I wanted to put behind my past, go into something new, which I now feel was a mistake. People shouldn’t necessarily try to do that, because you don’t get ideas out of a vacuum. The ideas come from a natural flow and progression of what you do, and had I understood that a little better, I would have probably continued on. The person who continued on to do the work that I was the most impressed with, relating to what I had done on the stimulated Raman affect, was Wolfgang Kaiser. And he was able to really understand what was going on in the nonlinear processes of these liquids. Years later I always felt that had I known enough to know how to continue on with the research, that that’s what I would have done.
There’s a group at Bell that was doing it also, Giordmaine and some others.
I don’t think Giordmaine did all that much in that area. His big contribution of course was second harmonic generation without background. By the way, there’s an amusing story here and I really do have to tell it. I’ve told it before and I’m sure Dick Brewer would tell it also. In fact, there are several stories about him. He came to visit Townes at MIT, and worked with us some on this whole stimulated Raman affect. I don’t remember exactly what his contribution was, except he was very involved and interested. But he came over to my house and I served him dinner, and we were sitting around drinking cocktails before dinner, and I found out he had been a teaching assistant or lecturer, I guess, at Harvard in the chemistry department. I said, “Oh, I was a Harvard undergraduate. What did you think of Radcliffe girls?” He said, well, he thought they were pretty good, but he’d had this girl who had taken an exam and done very poorly, and she’d [she'd means "she had." It was a one-time occurrence.] come into his office to complain about it, and she’d started crying, and how embarrassing and horrible it was to deal with. I suddenly realized, that woman was me! This was some four or five years later and I hadn’t recognized him and he hadn’t recognized me, and we’d been working jointly on this paper, when all of a sudden we realized that we’d had this past interaction. I had taken an exam in physical chemistry. The entire hour exam required knowing the, oh, I can’t remember it now, some random equation Clausius Clapeyron equation which I couldn’t remember, and I spent the whole hour trying to derive the equation, and because I didn’t know it I got a zero on the exam, and I was so upset, and I went in to see this teaching assistant or lecturer, and he was so sympathetic, and the thing he did which destroyed me was, he handed me a Kleenex, and that of course started me crying even more so!
I always thought of Brewer as going to IT to work with Javan’s group.
No, he worked with our group. I don’t think he worked at all with Javan’s group, did he? Maybe that’s why he was there, because I always thought it was strange that he came and did this work with us. Maybe he came to work with — because he’s more a chemist type. So maybe it was while he was there working with Javan that he got interested in what we were doing. I would have to go back. By the time this paper was written I really wasn’t too much involved with him and I’m not quite sure what his contributions to it were. It was a PHYS REV so it was a kind of a fleshing out of ideas that we had before, so I don’t think —
The name of that paper?
That was “Small-Scale Trapped Filaments in Intense Laser Beams” in PHYS REV — and the only PHYS REV article I’ve ever had. OK, so that pretty much finished my MIT connection. The first thing I did with Yariv, after a year of trying to get my feet on the ground, was this “Saturable Absorbers” which I was very proud of and which we spoke of. We also did a very quick measurement on the infra-red absorption in gallium arsenide, one of the first calorimetry measurements. I believe the idea of the calorimetry was Yariv’s. It was to use the high power of the laser to heat up the sample, and it was thought to be an original idea with him, so I actually did some early calorimetry. The samples came from Bell and Howell, which at that time was doing semi-insulating chrome-doped gallium arsenide. I was very much involved in that and did most of the work. Comly was just a starting grad student who helped. “The Observation of Mode Locking and Ultra-Short pulses,” that was with my ruby laser that I had purchased, and put together. Comly did most of the work, the experimental work, but I was pretty much directing that. The Second Harmonic Generations from Short Pulses· I’m very proud of. It was an idea that was mine. Comly did the calculations and I was very polite and put his name on. In fact I even put it first, but I believe it was essentially totally my idea. It was the fact that when you have short pulses in a dispersive medium, they can broaden, when you do second harmonic generation. At that time it was, as I recall, I think competitive with Stan Shapiro. Makes me so sad to talk about Stan Shapiro. There have been a few laser people who have died and he’s one of them. It always makes me very sad. Is he a name you’ve come across? He did some early, early meaning the mid-sixties, work on ultra-short pulses in nonlinear optics. He was at GTE back when GTE was good, before it got rid of all its people. I can’t remember where he went after that. He also worked on dye lasers and things like that. He died of cancer about four or five years ago, when he was about 35. Very tragic. Died within six months. Speaking of people like that, Kokhlov was one of the early Russians to do nonlinear optics, and Kokhlov came 196 — I can’t remember when, ‘68, ‘67, he came to LA, and while in LA there were only two people he wanted to see. One was me and the other was Bob Hellwarth. I was so incredibly flattered that I should be considered equal to Hellwarth and to see him. He also wanted to see Marine Land because he had a brother who was going to start a similar thing in the Soviet Union, and so Hellwarth and I took him to Marine Land so that we could talk science in the one afternoon that he had in LA. He died of a mountain climbing accident.
I am anxious to spend a little time on some of these final questions about USC, when you became a career woman.
Actually the problem is that then what happened more or less is that I got ~~ss and less involved. This “Stable Chirped Ultra Short Pulses” with Comly that was basically his Ph.D. thesis. So by the time Dave Hall came along, I was third author and peripherally involved and that was about it, and we’ve already talked about the optical wave guiding paper. Oh, I should mention, there was this other one, this “Propagation Losses” paper. That was actually the first re-creation of my going back into physics. You see, there’s a big time lag from 1970 where I was last author to 1972 where on the Garmire-Stoll paper, on propagation losses, I was first author, and it was again really my work. Stoll was a grad student and I put his name on it. I did a calculation which was actually one of the very first ones on that Subject, and it kind of got my faith back in that I could do science again. It was a terrible paper. I read it now and I can barely understand it — the work was good but it was written so poorly. I was so insecure. I was just unbelievably insecure, and it’s kind of from then on you can watch the birth again of somebody willing to accept responsibility again for what they’re doing. All this integrated optics just suddenly burst on the scene, and there was so much stuff there that Yariv couldn’t do it all and he had me go and give a lot of the talks that he didn’t have time to do, so I had a chance to give a lot of talks, go places, meet people.
Yariv wanted to start his epitaxial facility, and so he essentially told me I had to develop it, which I did, built a clean room, made the first lasers, did the whole thing, and it was all very exciting. It was a very forward-looking time. Then I went to England, worked with Lovelace and Thompson, that’s the diffused optical wave guide. I was only there two days a week for six months, and I did the first experiment in integrated optics done at Standard Telecommunications Laboratories at that time and the first one on semiconductor integrated optics in all of England, and the experiment worked and we got good results; everything agreed in the experiment, and I’m very proud of that. It was essentially all my work. The idea was Thompson’s, however; I’ll give him full credit for it. And so then, technically things were going extremely well. I wrote the chapter in the book on integrated optics. So I felt totally comfortable and successful, technically. Came back and had my divorce and all those problems. Came to USC and the work I did on the flexible infra-red wave guides, of which there’s a whole series of papers. Again I felt technically very confident about the work. I didn’t really feel very confident about the rest of my professional life. I wrote a bunch of proposals. I wrote one on the wave guide work. It was good work, the proposal was good, also the guy that funded it was an old personal friend at NSF, Jay Harris, so I was sure it would be funded, and that paid enough for my, I guess, quarter time that I was here at USC, something like that. I also wrote a bunch of other proposals. I wanted to go into solar cell work, gallium arsenide solar cells, and I had 100 percent rejection on those proposals. I had everything else rejected and that was a very difficult thing to take.
You know, through all this, it surprises me that raising children doesn’t seem to have been something which ran interference in any way. I mean, not from your description. It sounds as if raising children was not a difficulty in pursuing your scientific work. Is that true?
Well, I told you from the very beginning that I felt somewhat schizophrenic and I continued to feel schizophrenic. When I was at Cal Tech, I lived on campus. We were able to rent a house from Cal Tech on campus. Believe it or not, it was half a block from my lab. I didn’t even have to cross the street. It would have been an ideal situation for me to have gone home for lunch, for my kids to come down and visit me in my lab, but that never happened. That never happened because I had this incredible schizophrenia. I could not imagine going to work when I was home, and I could not imagine going home when I was at work. And I had set it up so that my housekeeper would leave at 2. That way I had to go home. Actually 3 p.m. is probably more accurate, and I had to go home because she would leave and I had to take the kids. Every day I would say, “Oh my God, I’ve got to go home, look at all the work I have to do, how can I walk out, leave my desk and go home?” I would. Within half an hour I would have gotten a beer out of the refrigerator, gone out in the back yard, watched my little children running around in the yard playing on their tricycles and say, “My God, those fools down there that think that science is all there is.” I mean, it was an interesting way to run a life, but I basically ran two separate lives with very little overlap.
Sounds rather effective.
The kids certainly did know where I was. They didn’t feel free to come down and visit me, but I think they grew up knowing that I was right down the street. They grew up playing all over the Cal Tech campus. Everybody knew my kids, because they would hide under the porch in the computer lab and do things like that, so there was a nice feeling. Much as I said terrible things about Cal Tech before, from the point of view of raising a kid on campus at Cal Tech it was perfectly wonderful. My kids grew up with a tremendously warm feeling toward the Cal Tech campus. I also had a housekeeper. I did not want or have a live-in housekeeper. I had this thought that I wanted my children to cry for me at night and not for somebody else. So my housekeeper always went home. I was fortunate that at that time, and living in Pasadena where there was a large minority community, there was a source of housekeepers, and I had some very good ones. So that aspect made it relatively easy. Then, as the women’s movement began to surface and day care needs began to surface, I got involved in starting the Cal Tech Day Care Center and sending my younger kid there, which was right across the street from where our house was, so that was even more of this extended environment. So I felt very much a part of the Cal Tech community, outside of the work, and I think the only real problem with the work was that there was all of this feeling, and I think it permeates Cal Tech, that nobody’s ever quite good enough.
You mean even on the professorial level?
Well, certainly a lot of professors — I mean, there was an incredible amount of infighting and negative things said by one group of professors about another group of professors. I was there at the time when they wanted to start an applied physics department, which meant splitting the EE department, and I went to one meeting which I was probably not supposed to have been to because I was only research faculty, but the one side wanted more representation so they asked me to come, and I was appalled at the feelings that came up there, including tears, over concerns about the department, and the fact that certain members of the department had fame and fortune and other members of the department may have been doing very good science but weren’t getting the fame and fortune. Tremendous amount of infighting there, yes. Let’s see, what else? I do want to mention the setting up of Experiments in Art and Technology, how I got involved. That was through the fact that Yariv was a personal friend of Bill Kluver, and Billy Kluver was the guy who started Experiments in Art and Technology.
Bill Kluver was at Bell Labs and working in John Pierce’s group, and had been and was very interested in art, had been working with Jean Tangley, the artist, and in fact of course dropped out of science and is full time now doing this art and technology thing. He was an old friend of Amnon’s because they had both been at Berkeley together, and Amnon arranged, in fact it was down in Florida, 1968, arranged for him to meet me because he knew that I was interested in strange things and Billy was looking for connections on the West Coast. Amnon was saying he himself was much too hard working to get involved in this organization, and I got very much involved in it from ‘68 to ‘72 or so, and with Billy Kluver’s money and encouragement, we started to get together a bunch of people to start our own California group. What was so fascinating was that I met all of the big artists who were working on this stuff in New York. Robert Rauschenberg visited me, David Tudor. I met John Cage. It was amazing. To have not had any formal art training and then to meet the very top people and to discover that they were all ordinary human beings and that I could talk to them about their work and relate very directly was very exciting. [I arranged for and taught the first course in Art at Caltech, co-teaching with a MFA artist friend, Caroline Hinckley. This would have been about 1972.]
"Self-trapping of Optical Beams," Phys. Rev. Lett. 13 (1964) 479
Phys. Rev. Lett. 11 (1963), 160.
Appl. Phy. Lett. (1964) vol. 5 P. 84.
E. Garmire and A. Yariv. "Laser Mode-Locking with Saturable Absorbers," IEEE Journ. Quantum Electronics QE-3 (1967), 222.
"Optical Waveguides in Single Layers of Gal-x As Grown on Ga As Substrates," App. Phys. Letters 23 (1973) 403
Garmire, Stoll, Yariv, and Hunsperger, "Optical Waveguiding in Porton-Implanted GaAs," App. Phys. Letters 22 (1972) 87
"Coherently Driven Molecular Vibration and Light Modulation," Phys. Rev. Letters 11 (1963) 160.
Phys. Rev. Letters 13 (1964) 479
with C. H. Townes, App. Phys. Letters 5 (1964) 84
Phys. Letters 17 (1965), 251.
Stimulated Four-Photon Interaction and its Influence on Stimulated-Rayleigh-Wing Scattering," Phys. Rev. Letters 17 (1966) 1158.
A New Class of Trapped Light Filaments, IEEE J. Quant. Electronics QE-2 (1966) 467
with R. Chiao and C. H. Townes, Phys. Rev. Letters 16 (1966), 347.
P. Kelley, B. Lax, and P. Tannenwald, Eds, (McGraw-Hill, NY 1966), 167-179
Phys. Rev. 166 (1968) 326
Brewer, Lifsitz, Garmire, Chiao, and Townes, Phys. Rev. 166 (1968), 326
"Infrared Absorption at 10.6 um in GaAs" (Garmire, Comly, Yariv)
"Observation of Mode-Locking and Ultra-Short Pulses in Anistropic Molecular Liquids" (Comly, Garmire, Laussade, Yariv) Appl. Phys. Lett. 13, 176(1968).
"Second Harmonic Generation from Short Pulses." (Comly, Garmire) Appl. Phys. Lett. 12, 7 (1968).
"Stable, Chirped, Ultrashort Pulses in Lasers Using the Optical Kerr Effect." (Comly, Garmire, Yariv) Appl. Phys. Lett. 15 148 (1969).
"Propagation Losses in Metal-Film-Substrate Optical Waveguides." (Garmire, Stoll) IEEE J. Quantum Electr. QE-8, 763 (1972).
Garmire, Lovelace, and Thompson, "Zinc-Diffused Two-Dimensional Optical Wave-guides in M-type GaAs," App. Opt. 15 (1976), 1394.
"Semiconductor Components for Monolithic Integrated Optics." (Garmire) Integrated Optics, Topics in Applied Physics, Vol. 7 ed. Tamir (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1975) pp. 243-304.
"Flexible Infrared Transmissive Waveguides." (Garmire, McMahon, Bass) Appl. Phys. Lett. 29, 254 (1976).; Propagatoin of Infrared Light in Flexible Hollow Waveguides. (Garmire, McMahon, Bass) Appl. Opt. IS, 145 (1976).; Propagation of Infrared Light in Hollow Waveguides: Further Discussions. (Garmire) Appl. Opt. IS, 3037 (1976).; Low-Loss Optical Transmission Through Bent Hollow Metal Waveguides. (Garmire, McMahon, Bass) Appl. Phys. Lett. 31, 92.