SBU News
SBU News > Newsroom > Press Release > Faculty/Student Awards > Stony Brook Professor Harold Metcalf Is the Optica 2023 Esther Hoffman Beller Medal Recipient

Stony Brook Professor Harold Metcalf Is the Optica 2023 Esther Hoffman Beller Medal Recipient

Harold metcalf phd a 1
Harold metcalf phd a 1
Harold Metcalf, PhD

STONY BROOK, NY — March 6, 2023 — Stony Brook University Professor Harold Metcalf has been selected as the Optica (formerly OSA), Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide 2023 recipient of the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal. Metcalf, a distinguished teaching professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences, is being honored for outstanding mentorship of undergraduate students in hands-on optics research and for organizing an annual symposium for students to present their work during the Frontier in Optics/Laser Science (FiO/LS) conference.

The Beller Medal is presented for outstanding contributions to education in optical science and engineering. Consideration is given to the recipient’s outstanding teaching and/or original work in optics education that enhances the understanding of optics. The scope of the award is international, and candidates at every career stage are considered. It is endowed by a bequest from the estate of Esther Hoffman Beller.

“My sincere congratulations to Hal on this momentous achievement,” said Nicole S. Sampson, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and distinguished professor of chemistry. “His dedication to education — from mentorship of students from the high school to graduate level — in addition to his decades-long commitment to advancements in optical science, are testament to the prominence and recognition of our Physics and Astronomy program at Stony Brook. We are fortunate to have him among our faculty.”

Metcalf was recognized by Optica for being “a dedicated educator and mentor. He created the Laser Teaching Center (LTC) at Stony Brook University, which provides inquiry- and project-based active learning for students from high school to the graduate level. Another of his significant contributions to education is the annual Symposium on Undergraduate Research/LS [sponsored by the Division of Laser Science (DLS) of the American Physical Society] which takes place as part of Frontiers in Optics (FiO/LS).  During the Symposium, undergraduate students present their research in oral and poster sessions and network with leading professionals in the field.

Metcalf’s research is focused on optical control of atomic motion, and he was one of the leaders in the earliest experiments of Laser Cooling and Trapping. He has published three textbooks, including Laser Cooling and Trapping. Metcalf has also held several visiting appointments, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); École normale supérieure (ENS) Paris, France; Utrecht University, Netherlands; University of Bonn, Germany and Beijing Institute for Modern Physics, China.

“This is a richly deserved award, as Hal is such a generous contributor to the Department and the Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics community, particularly to the younger generation,” said Chang Kee Jung, distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. “In addition, Hal made seminal contributions to the field of laser cooling and trapping of neutral atoms. The members of our Department appreciate him greatly, and I am very proud of his accomplishments.”

Metcalf earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from MIT and his PhD in physics from Brown University. He was a postdoc at Stony Brook University before joining the faculty. Metcalf is a recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and is a fellow of Optica and the American Physical Society.

About Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University — New York’s flagship university and No. 1 public university — is going far beyond the expectations of today’s public universities. It is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. With more than 24,000 students, more than 2,800 faculty members, more than 200,000 alumni, a premier academic health center and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs, Stony Brook is a research-intensive distinguished center of innovation dedicated to addressing the world’s biggest challenges. The university embraces its mission to provide comprehensive undergraduate, graduate and professional education of the highest quality, and is ranked among the top 35 public universities by Forbes and one of the top 80 universities in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges listing. Fostering a commitment to academic research and intellectual endeavors, Stony Brook’s membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places it among the top 65 research institutions in North America. The university’s distinguished faculty have earned esteemed awards such as the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. Stony Brook has the responsibility of co-managing Brookhaven National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy — one of only eight universities with a role in running a national laboratory. Providing economic growth for neighboring communities and the wider geographic region, the university totals an impressive $7.23 billion in increased economic output on Long Island. Follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter(@stonybrooku).


Related Posts

Add comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Get the latest word on Stony Brook news, discoveries and people.

Subscribe to News

Get the latest word on Stony Brook news, discoveries and people.


Get the latest word on Stony Brook news,
discoveries and people.