The Edward Pollack Distinguished Lecture Series

The Edward Pollack Distinguished lecture series is supported by an endowment established by the family of the late Professor Edward Pollack in 2005. Ed’s family, friends and colleagues made contributions in his memory. This annual lecture provides for the presentation of a special colloquium each year in Ed’s name in atomic, molecular and optical physics, his area of expertise.

Ed joined the department in 1963, after he had graduated from City College of New York (1952), served as a researcher at the Army’s Fort Detrick in Maryland, and taught at both New York University and City College of New York while he earned his Ph.D. in physics from New York University (1963). At Connecticut, he established a laboratory for the investigation of low-energy atomic collisions with funding from the U.S. Army Research Office, Durham and followed this with numerous grants from NSF, NASA and other funding sources. A Fellow of the American Physical Society, he was a pioneer in the measurement of energy losses in slow collisions of ions with atoms and molecules. He partnered and interacted with a wide range of scientists and laboratories. In particular, he carried out research in the Laboratoire des Collisions Atomiques et Moleculaires, Orsay, France, the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Caltech-NASA Jet propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Ed was a superb teacher who prepared meticulously for every class and devoted long hours assisting students in his office. He acted as advisor to nearly 20 Ph.D.s and provided guidance with their career choices. He took great satisfaction in their successes. Within the department, he served on nearly all of the committees at some time, including chairing the Faculty Teaching Assignments Committee and serving as advisor to Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society.

A long-term colleague and collaborator remembers Ed as a “dyed-in-the wool New Yorker,” with a sense of humor and a love of life that showed in both his professional career and his varied cultural interests. He loved music, he was a skilled violinist and served on the board of Connecticut’s National Public Radio and TV. A devoted family man, he rejoiced in his children’s and his wife’s many accomplishments. We continue to benefit from the good works he did for our department and its members and the annual lecture provides us with the opportunity to reflect on his many contributions.

Previous Edward Pollack Distinguished Lecturers:

  • 2015: Deborah Jin, University of Colorado
  • 2014: David Pritchard, MIT
  • 2011: Michael Drewsen, University of Aarhus
  • 2010: Thomas Cravens, University of Kansas
  • 2008: Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, Collège de France / Laboratoire Kastler Brossel Ecole Normale Supérieure
  • 2007: Ara Chutjian, Jet Propulsion Laboratory / California Institute of Technology
  • 2006: Lew Cocke, Kansas State University