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Herwig Werner Kogelnik Edit Profile

Electronics company executive

Herwig Werner Kogelnik, Austrian, American Electronics company executive. Patentee in field of lasers, holography, electronics and optical committee. Recipient Johann Joseph Ritter von Prechtl medal Technology U., Vienna, Austria, 1990; honorary fellow St. Peter's College, University of Oxford, 1992.


Kogelnik, Herwig Werner was born on June 2, 1932 in Graz, Austria. Came to United States, 1960. Naturalized, January 1992.

Son of Sepp and Siglinde Kogelnik.


Diploma-Ing., Technology University Vienna, 1955. Dr.techn., Technology University Vienna, 1958. D.phil., Oxford University, 1960.


In a series of papers in the early 1960s, he developed the theory of stable optical resonators, which has been fundamental to laser developments ever since. He then turned to the applications of holograms to optical systems, developing with some of his colleagues the basic theory of thick holograms that led to the development of a whole range of optical components, including filters and couplers to integrated optical devices. His innovation was the beginning of the "distributed feedback laser." He also contributed the development of wavelength-division multiplexing.

He was born in Graz, Austria on June 2, 1932. He received an engineering degree from the Technische Hochschule in Vienna, Austria in 1955, and also a Doctor of Technology Degree in 1958. In 1960 he received a Ph.D. from Oxford University.

In 1961 he joined Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey where he became Director of both the Electronics Research Laboratory and the Photonics Research Laboratory. He was the president of the Optical Society of America in 1989. He holds 35 patents. In 2012 he continued active engineering work.


  • His work over a 40-year career at Bell Labs earned him the Marconi Prize, the IEEE Medal of Honor, the National Medal of Technology and many other awards.


  • Other Work

    • Contributor articles in field to professional journals. Patentee in field of lasers, holography, electronics and optical communications.


Chairman Monmouth (New Jersey) Arts Foundation, 1973-1976. Past trustee New York Museum Holography. Fellow: National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (David Sarnoff award 1989, Quantum Electronics award 1991, Medal of Honor 2001), Optical Society of America (president 1989, Frederic IVES medal 1984).

Member: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Institute Physics (past governor), American Physical Society, Seabright Lawn Tennis & Cricket Club (president 1994—2000).


Married Christa Muller, March 7, 1964. Children: Christoph N., Florian A., Andreas M.

Sepp Kogelnik

Siglinde Kogelnik

Christa Muller

Christoph N. Kogelnik

Florian A. Kogelnik

Andreas M. Kogelnik