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INRS unveils Jacques-Beaulieu Excellence Research Chair

January 17, 2012 | Stéphanie Thibault

Update : May 10, 2023

INRS director general Daniel Coderre and Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre director Professor Federico Rosei unveiled the Jacques-Beaulieu Excellence Research Chair today in Varennes. The first person to hold this chair is Professor Gérard Mourou, a leading inventor in the field of optics and lasers, known worldwide for his major contributions in the fields of electronics, optoelectronics, archeology, and medicine.

This new chair will follow the example of the Blaise-Pascal chairs in France, with chairholders and designated research areas changing on a rotating basis. Chairholders will be selected from among the world’s top leaders in the Centre’s areas of research.

Created by the Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre, the Jacques-Beaulieu Excellence Research Chair seeks to foster cutting-edge research in photonics, optics, telecommunications, advanced materials, and energy. It is named after renowned physicist Jacques Beaulieu, inventor of the transversely excited atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 TEA) laser, which sparked major advances in university research in the fields of plasma physics, spectroscopy, materials processing, and photochemistry. In this way, the Research Centre pays tribute to the man who was pivotal to the INRS-Énergie laser interaction program from 1970 to the late 1980s.

Gérard Mourou, a world authority on science and ultrafast technology

A member of École Polytechnique’s Haut Collège of professors, Gérard Mourou is the director of the International Center on Zetta-Exawatt Science and Technology (IZEST), recently created at France’s École Polytechnique. He developed the chirped pulse amplification (CPA) technique for amplifying lasers, which paved the way for the use of ultra-high power lasers in fundamental physics, as well as in medicine, biology, chemistry, and industry. He developed and oversaw the preparatory phase of the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) project designed to equip Europe with lasers powerful enough to generate 100,000 times the output of all the world’s electrical generating facilities combined. Production of this extreme light will make it possible to conduct new physics experiments aimed at unravelling the mysteries of the composition of the void or dark matter. In addition to contributing to the development of new cancer therapies, new methods for handling radioactive waste, and new materials, these super powerful lasers will open the door to revolutionary discoveries in biology, life science, and medicine. Professor Mourou is also the A.D. Moore Distinguished University Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Michigan, where he founded the National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center for Ultrafast Optical Science (CUOS).

“Along with the director of the Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre, I, too, am delighted by Professor Gérard Mourou’s appointment as our first Jacques-Beaulieu Excellence Research Chairholder. He will be an ambassador for our organization both at home and around the world, and will contribute to the development of scientific research and inquiry in our university’s key fields of research,” said Daniel Coderre, director general of INRS.