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Topics discussed include: family background, education at Duke University, graduate work at Princeton University with Don Hamilton, Ruby Sherr and Eugene Wigner, his work at General Electric with Roland Schmidt, Walter Harrison, and Gerry Mahan, magnetic breakdown, optical absorption spectrum of impurities and solids, teaching at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and University of Rochester, electron scattering, involvement with the American Vacuum Society (AVS), his work at Pacific Northwest National Labratory, and his work at Xerox with Chip Holt and Sudendu Rai.
Origins of the first Conference on Coherence Properties of Electromagnetic Radiation, University of Rochester, June 1960. The Rochester Institute of Optics. The field of optics in the U.S. in the 1950s. Also prominently mentioned are: Frederick Calvin Brown, and F. R. Carver.
Comments on some of Wolf's research: first studies of coherence in the mid-1950s; lasers and the problem of complete coherence; holography; global coherence; the structure of laser light in the focal plane of lenses; coherence in the space-frequency domain; the nature of scientific progress. Also includes discussion of the social circumstances of his research: funding arrangements; consultancies; scientific contacts; the controversy between Glauber and Wolf, Mandel, and Sudarshan.