The Fitzpatrick Center for Photonics

Michael Wenyon

Multidisciplinary engineering learning centers, in which optics is used to address application areas ranging from biology to telecommunications, have been established by a number of U.S. universities in recent years. Duke and Stanford are the latest to announce specialist centers for research and teaching in photonics, with construction starting as soon as this year and completion between 2004 and 2005. Last year, in a joint communiqué, the schools announced receipt of equal donations towards their respective centers of $25 million each, from Michael J. Fitzpatrick and his wife. On each campus new buildings, or parts of buildings, will be named after Fitzpatrick, a telecommunications engineer and businessman who was chairman of E-TEK Dynamics when it merged with JDS Uniphase Corp. in 2000. Fitzpatrick says he hopes his centers will relieve a shortage of trained photonics engineers that "endangers progress" in the field.

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