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Brian Washburn has relentlessly pursued his education and career as a research physicist and university professor. He attended UW-Parkside, where he earned his bachelor of science degree in physics summa cum laude in 1994, and then did research at Argonne National Laboratory for a year before enrolling in graduate school.

He earned his doctorate at Georgia Tech in 2002, and the thesis he authored, “Dispersion and Nonlinearities associated with super continuum generation in microstructure fibers,” is still referred to by those interested in modeling the nonlinear propagation of light in optical fiber.  Also, while at Georgia Tech, Brian was a member of the Georgia Tech Ultrafast Optical Communications Consortium, which was a consortium between Georgia Tech, Bell South, Nortel Networks, and Corning Incorporated to develop a 160 Gbit/s optical time division multiplexed link.

From 2002-2005, he did research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where he brought a fiber laser under careful control as an “optical frequency comb” for the first time. Such lasers allow the frequency of light to be measured to remarkable precision (up to 19 digits), and are a promising technology for many applications outside the laboratory, including space-based optical clocks, atmospheric sensing, distance ranging, and other applications.

Since 2005, he has served as a faculty member in the Physics Department at Kansas State University, where he has trained several doctorate and several master’s of science students in experimental physics research. He is a highly respected teacher and was awarded the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2015. This award recognized his extraordinary efforts to effectively teach 250-350 engineering and science majors the introductory level of calculus-based physics for three years running, including overseeing the interactive laboratory-like student environment and the many instructors that contributed to it.

Dr. Washburn is particularly known for performing interesting and engaging demonstrations that help students learn introductory physics. He has also taught effectively at the upper-level undergraduate and graduate level.

Dr. Washburn has served the scientific community at the national level, most recently as a member of the Optical Metrology committee for one of the primary conferences in his field, the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, Optical Metrology sub-committee.

In 2015, he spent a sabbatical leave at NIST in Boulder, Colo., furthering his research in the development of novel lasers for optical frequency comb spectroscopy. He also developed a novel class of lasers based on gas-filled hollow optical fiber, and was awarded a patent on this project in 2015. Since the beginning of his career, he has co-authored more than 70 scholarly publications in research journals and conference proceedings.

Dr. Brian Washburn and his family reside in Manhattan, Kansas. 



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