Marlan Scully is a laser physics pioneer whose research interests include laser physics, quantum optics, nonequilibrium statistical mechanics and bioengineering.
His work includes the first quantum theory of the laser with Lamb, the first demonstrations of lasing without inversion, the first demonstration of ultraslow light in hot gases, and the use of quantum coherence to detect anthrax in real time.
Scully's work on quantum coherence and correlation effects has shed new light on the foundations of quantum mechanics, e.g., the quantum eraser. The Scully-Lamb quantum theory of the laser was the first theoretical treatment that yielded the laser photon statistics, the laser line width, and all higher order photon correlations. It was later extended to explain behavior of the single photon maser. Most recently, Scully and coworkers have shown that the laser master equation analysis also provides a good quantitative description of fluctuations in the Bose-Einstein condensate.
He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Academia Europaea, and Max Planck Society; has numerous awards including the APS Schawlow prize, OSA Townes Award, IEEE Quantum Electronics Award, Franklin Institute's Elliott Cresson Medal, OSA Lomb Medal, and Humboldt Senior Faculty Prize. More recently, he was named Harvard Loeb Lecturer, received an honorary doctorate from University of Ulm, and was awarded the OSA's DPG Hebert Walther Award.
Scully joined the Texas A&M faculty as professor of physics in 1992 after stints on the physics faculties of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Arizona and University of New Mexico. He was named director of Texas A&M’s Center for Theoretical Physics in 1995 and has served as co-director of the Texas Laser Laboratory at the Houston Advanced Research Center in The Woodlands.
He earned a BS/AS in engineering physics from the University of Wyoming/Casper College, is a graduate of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Materials Science Program, and earned an MS and a PhD in physics from Yale University.