Prof. Michal Lipson Receives Honorary Doctorate from Trinity College, University of Dublin

Professor Michal Lipson, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering and professor of applied physics at Columbia University, received an honorary doctorate for her pioneering work in silicon photonics from Trinity College, the University of Dublin. Officiating at the December 7, 2018, ceremony was Dr. Mary Robinson, chancellor of the university and former president of Ireland (who received an honorary doctorate from Columbia). On Thursday, December 6, Lipson gave a lecture titled, “The History and State of Optics on a Chip,” that was hosted by the AMBER (Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research) Centre.

Prof. Lipson with Dr. Patrick Pendergast, provost of Trinity College
Prof. Lipson with Dr. Patrick Pendergast, provost of Trinity College.

“This is an incredible honor,” says Lipson. “Trinity College is home to the AMBER Centre, on whose board I have had the privilege of serving. The center’s transformative research impacts science worldwide. And the University of Dublin itself is a symbol of change. It is the first college to elect a female chancellor, and women now represent more than 50 percent of its student body. The university stands for—and actively works toward—progress across all sections of society and intellectual disciplines, including my own.”

Prof. Lipson with Dr. Mary Robinson, chancellor of the University of Dubli
Prof. Lipson with Dr. Mary Robinson, chancellor of the University of Dublin.

Lipson’s group in the EE department focuses on nanophotonics—the study of the behavior of light at the nanometer scale and the design of nanostructures that exploit light. She is especially known for her work in silicon photonics, a technology that enables data transfer among computer chips via optical rays, which are more efficient than electrical conductors. She holds more than twenty patents and is a cofounder of PicoLuz, a company that specializes in nonlinear silicon photonic components.

L-R, Poet, Thomas Kinsella, Galway historian, Catherine Corless, American physicist, Michal Lipson. (Back) L-R Dr Patrick Pendergast, Provost of Trinity College and Dr Mary Robinson, Chancellor of Trinity College at the Honorary Doctorate Ceremony.
(L-R, front) Poet Thomas Kinsella, Galway historian Catherine Corless, American physicist Michal Lipson.
(L-R, rear) Dr. Patrick Pendergast, provost of Trinity College, and Dr. Mary Robinson, chancellor of the University of Dublin, at the honorary doctorate ceremony.

In recognition of her work in silicon photonics, Lipson has received a MacArthur Fellowship, the Blavatnik Award, and the Optical Society’s R. W. Wood Prize. She recently received the 2019 IEEE Photonics Award, and since 2014, Thomson Reuters has named her a Highly Cited Researcher (top 1 percent) in physics. Lipson received her PhD in physics from the Technion, in Israel, and did a postdoctoral fellowship in materials science at MIT. After fourteen years on the Cornell University faculty, she joined the electrical engineering department at Columbia in 2015.

— By Ann Rae Jonas

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