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Bernard Couillaud 1944 - 2017
Bernard J. Couillaud
1944 - 2017
Coherent, and the photonics community at large, lost a leading light on Monday August 14, 2017.
A native of France, Bernard J. Couillaud earned his PhD in Laser Physics in 1978 at the University of Bordeaux and later became a full professor there. During his time at Bordeaux, a colorful and storied partnership with colleague André Ducasse pioneered continuous wave and pulsed dye lasers. Finding his way to California, he completed a three-year visiting fellowship at Stanford University that yielded, in collaboration with T.W. Hansch, the Hansch-Couillaud technique of laser frequency stabilization.
Joining Coherent in 1983, he was instrumental in the development of numerous Dye, DPSS, and Ti:S lasers in his roles as Director of Engineering, Business Unit Manager, and Vice President of the Laser Group. Along the arc of this extraordinary academic and industrial career, he authored 65 publications and received numerous patents. He became President and CEO of Coherent in 1996, and served in that capacity until 2002. Dr. Couillaud was then Chairman of the Board of Directors until his retirement in 2007.
He gave more than a lifetime’s worth of dedication and achievements to physics, lasers, and photonics, and remains an inspiration to everyone that called him friend, colleague, boss, or mentor.
He will be missed.
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