University of New Mexico

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Video conference

Interview with Marlan Scully, Distinguished University Professor and Burgess Chair at Texas A&M and Distinguished Research Academician at Baylor University. The interview begins with Scully recounting his early experience contracting COVID-19 and how that informed his research into the virus. Then he describes growing up in Wyoming and recalls not being very interested in school until he fell in love with calculus while attending community college. Scully talks about his studies in physics at the University of Wyoming before eventually transferring to Rensselaer Polytechnic. He then discusses his decision to move to Yale to work with Willis Lamb on laser physics. Scully recounts his assistant professorship at MIT and the opportunity at University of Arizona, where he was involved with starting their Optical Sciences Center. He talks about his subsequent joint position between University of New Mexico and Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, as well as his work with Air Force weapons labs on laser applications. Scully details the events leading to his position at Texas A&M and the inception of the Institute for Quantum Studies, and his ongoing affiliations with Princeton. At the end of the interview, Scully reflects on the interplay between theory and experimentation throughout his career and in laser physics specifically, as well as the technological advances that have propelled laser research forward.