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Understand the Opportunities for Sensing and Computing with Light at New Watson Lecture

Published on Nov 7, 2020

Professor Alireza Marandi

Professor Alireza Marandi, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics at Caltech, will be discussing “The Power of Nonlinearities: Unlocking Opportunities for Sensing and Computing with Light” in a Watson Lecture on Wednesday, November 11, 5 to 6 p.m.

The Watson Lecture series, named for Earnest C. Watson, a physics professor at Caltech from 1919 until 1959, brings Caltech’s most innovative scientific research to the public. The lectures are intended for a general audience, as part of the Institute’s ongoing commitment to benefiting the local community through education and outreach.

In the online lecture, Marandi will describe how he and his research team are exploring scientific frontiers in nonlinear photonics, the name given to the use of nonlinear optical devices for the generation, communication, processing, or analysis of information.

He will talk about how their work could enable a broad range of possible applications for lasers and light detectors, including the potential for at-home breath-analysis devices.

“There is a correlation between the molecular composition of your exhaled breath and what exists in the blood,” Marandi explains. “So there’s a lot of useful information about your health contained in your breath, but it is difficult to analyze because the concentrations are so low.”

Marandi received his PhD from Stanford University in 2013. Before joining Caltech, he held positions as a postdoctoral scholar and a research engineer at Stanford, a visiting scientist at the National Institute of Informatics in Japan, and a senior engineer in the Advanced Technology Group of Dolby Laboratories. He is a senior member of The Optical Society (OSA) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Marandi has been the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Program award, the Air Force Young Investigator Program award, and the Young Scientist Prize of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics.

In 2019, he was named the 2019 KNI–Wheatley Scholar in Nanoscience at the Kavli Nanoscience Institute.

This online Watson Lecture is free and open to the public. The lecture runs approximately 40 minutes and will be followed by a live audience Q&A with Marandi.

Advance registration is required as capacity is limited. The lecture can also be viewed on demand, without the Q&A, starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday on Caltech’s YouTube channel,

To register, visit

You may also contact the Caltech Ticket Office via email at or leave a message at (626) 395-4652.

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