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About PQE

The Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, known as “PQE,” is an annual physics conference that attracts the world's experts in laser physics, quantum physics, and many other areas. The meeting is held annually in early January in Snowbird, UT, and will celebrate its 54th year in 2025.

Photographs

The Stephen Jacobs Collection at the American Institute of Physics (AIP) website has many excellent historical photographs taken at PQE (Link).

The American Institute of Physics (AIP) has been a sponsor of PQE for many years.

History

The inventions of the maser and laser in the late 1950s and 1960s brought a flood of new developments in the area that came to be known as Quantum Electronics. By the late 1960s, there was still much to be learned but very few formal courses. In the summers of 1966 and 1967, David Edwards of Colorado State University organized summer meetings under “Physics of Quantum Electronics.” Here, Steve Jacobs of the University of Arizona and Marlan Scully, then at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, met and formulated the idea for continuing the PQE meetings.

Marlan Scully and Steve Jacobs went on to organize a series of 2-week summer schools, which evolved into advanced workshops and technical progress reports. With the blessing of Dave Edwards, they continued to use the name Physics of Quantum Electronics. Much of this history was provided by Steve Jacobs. 

Below is a list of all the meetings and workshops under the masthead of PQE.

•  PQE Winter Colloquia:  The Winter Colloquia on the Physics of Quantum Electronics (PQE) have continued annually for over 40 years.

•  Other meetings:  Below is a list of all the other meetings, including recent summer workshops and those in the early days of PQE.

  • Original PQE summer meetings

  • Two-week Summer Tutorials

  • PQE Special Workshops

  • PQE Summer Workshops

 

•  PQE publications

The schedules and abstracts for previous years are available below

Winter Colloquia on the Physics of Quantum Electronics

Historically, there have been many meetings under the masthead of PQE. However, the Winter Colloquium has the largest number of attendees, and although there are occasional summer meetings, only the Winter Colloquium continues each and every year.

The Winter Colloquium is now held each year at the Snowbird ski resort near Salt Lake City, Utah, in the United States. However, the original meetings were at other places. The table below shows the locations of the meetings.

Year
Location
Sponsor
1971
Sun Valley, ID
Air Force
1972
Steamboat Springs, CO
Air Force
1973
Snowbird, UT
Air Force
1974
Snowmass, CO
Air Force
1975
Snowmass, CO
Air Force
1976
Steamboat Springs, CO
Air Force
1976
Steamboat Springs, CO
ERDA/NRA (Laser Isotope Separation)
1977
Park City, UT
ERDA/NRA (Laser Isotope Separation)
1977
Park City, UT
for ERDA Laser Fusion Div (High Power Lasers)
1978 to Present
Snowbird, UT
No Sponsor (supported by registration fees)

Financing the first few meetings went through several stages. In the early years, private industry, government, and universities could justify the two-week summer school registration fees. Eventually, formal courses supplanted the need for special summer schools, and PQE commenced instead to run topical meetings and workshops funded by government contracts.

The first such contract was to obtain consulting for the Air Force Weapons Lab (AFWL) in New Mexico. AFWL found that their consultants much-preferred skiing locations to Kirtland Air Force Base, and the Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics was born. These meetings have been held in the winter near down-hill ski areas since 1971

Originally funding was arranged through an existing research contract with the University of Arizona's Optical Sciences Center (OSC.) After the 5-year AFWL contract ended, several other government contracts supported the winter meeting. Since 1978, the meetings have been supported only by registration fees paid by the attendees.

Steve Jacobs ended his involvement around 1995, but Marlan Scully has continued his role as a scientific organizer from the beginning. In 1992, George Welch joined the faculty of Texas A&M University, met Marlan for the first time, and started attending the Winter Colloquium regularly. In 2000, George began to help with the organization of the meeting. He served as the point-man for contacting the speakers and session organizers, arranging the sessions and technical program, and coordinating the local logistics at the meeting until 2015.  Since then the organizational work for PQE has been done by Virgil Sanders and Olga Kocharovskaya.

There is an interesting anecdote concerning the early Winter Colloquia. After the initial 5-year AFWL contract ended, several other government contracts supported the winter meeting, each with a special consulting motivation. Such contracts ended when the appearance of impropriety brought this “ski resort boondoggle” to the attention of Senator Proxmire’s committee. After close examination, the “Golden Fleece Award” was not made to PQE, which ended the prospect for government funding. This almost ended the winter meetings, but it was agreed that the combination of high-level technical exchange, contract hunting, and fun was worthwhile and might be supportable through individual registration fees. This system has proven successful and has continued from 1977 to the present.

The organizers of PQE sincerely believe the technical content of this conference is second to none and that the amount of work done during the meetings — typically 280 talks in five days, meeting for nearly 9 hours per day — dispels any conceivable notion that this meeting is merely a ski trip. Proxmire, eat your heart out.

Other PQE meetings

Original PQE Meetings

The first two PQE summer meetings were organized by Dave Edwards of Colorado state university.

PQE Two-Week Summer Tutorial

After the first two summer meetings organized by David Edwards, Marlan Scully and Steve Jacobs continued organizing these meetings.

Year
Location / Topic
1968
Flagstaff, Arizona
1969
Flagstaff, Arizona
1970
Prescott, Arizona
1973
Crystal Mountain, Washington
1974
Santa Fe, New Mexico
1977
Telluride, Colorado / FEL Workshop for ONR
1979
Telluride, Colorado / FEL Workshop for ONR
1981
Telluride, Colorado / FEL Workshop for ONR

PQE Special Workshops

Year
Location
Topic
1972
Key Largo, Florida
Unknown
1973
Unknown
3 day symposium on New Laser Concepts
1976
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Five-day tutorial on Modern Optics for White Sands Missile Range
1981
Keystone, Colorado
Topical meeting on Tunable Lasers for ARO
1983
Orcas Island, Washington
FEL Generators of Coherent Radiation
1984
Snowbird, Utah
Physics of Optical Ring Gyros

PQE Summer Workshops

After the first decade or so of PQE special meetings, only the Winter Colloquium continued, and there were no more summer activites. In the 1990s, Summer Workshops again commenced under the guidance of Marlan Scully. These meetings were in much the same style of the Winter Colloquia, but were generally much smaller, more focussed, and less formal.

Year
Location
Topic
1996
Crested Butte, CO
Coherence effects, and lasing without inversion
1997
Crested Butte, CO
Coherence effects, and lasing without inversion
1998
Snow King Resort, Jackson Hole, WY
Coherence effects, and lasing without inversion
1999
Taos, NM
Coherence effects, and lasing without inversion
2000
Jackson Hole Resort, Teton Village, WY
Festive Workshops on Quantum Optics
2001
Snow King resort, Jackson Hole, WY
Workshop on Laser Physics and Quantum Optics: RAMSEY FEST
2003
Grand Targhee, WY
Workshop on Quantum Optics, and concluding activities for Research for Undergraduates (RUG) program
2005
Casper College, Casper, WY
Quantum Optics Summer Workshop
2007
Casper College, Casper, WY
TAMU/Princeton Summer School on Quantum Optics and Molecular Physics
2009
Snow King resort, Jackson Hole, WY
TAMU/Princeton Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering Summer School

PQE Publications

PQE published technical reports, proceedings, and books until 1984, but none were published after that until 2001. Since 2001, the Journal of Modern Optics has dedicated a special issue to papers originating from this conference.

JMO has been very supportive in this, and we greatly appreciate their efforts. Taylor and Francis, the publisher of JMO, has worked very hard to cut time to publication. We encourage optical scientists to consider JMO for publication of their high quality results.

Year
Publication
Editors
1968
Physics of Quantum Electronics, Vol. 1, OSC Technical Report #31
S. F. Jacobs and J. Mandelbaum
1969
Physics of Quantum Electronics, Vol. 2, OSC Technical Report #45
S. F. Jacobs and J. Mandelbaum
1970
Physics of Quantum Electronics, Vol. 3, OSC Technical Report #66
S. F. Jacobs
1973
The Physics of Quantum Electronics, Vol. 1, “High Energy Lasers and Their Applications”
S. F. Jacobs, M. O. Scully, M. Sargent III
1974
The Physics of Quantum Electronics, Vol. 2, “Laser Applications to Optics and Spectroscopy”
S. F. Jacobs, M. Sargent III, J. F. Scott, and M. O. Scully
1975
The Physics of Quantum Electronics, Vol. 3, “Laser Induced Fusion and X-Ray Laser Studies”
S. F. Jacobs, M. O. Scully, M. Sargent III, C. D. Cantrell III
1976
The Physics of Quantum Electronics, Vol. 4, “Laser Photochemistry, Tunable Lasers, and Other Topics”
S. F. Jacobs, M. Sargent III, M. O. Scully, C. T. Walker
1977
The Physics of Quantum Electronics, Vol. 5, “Novel Sources of Coherent Radiation”
S. F. Jacobs, M. Sargent III, M. O. Scully
1978
The Physics of Quantum Electronics, Vol. 6, “Adaptive Optics and Short Wavelength Sources”
S. F. Jacobs, M. Sargent III, M. O. Scully
1979
The Physics of Quantum Electronics, Vol. 7, “Free-Electron Generators of Coherent Radiation”
S. F. Jacobs, H. S. Pilloff, M. Sargent III, and R. Spitzer
1980
The Physics of Quantum Electronics, Vol. 8, “Free-Electron Generators of Coherent Radiation”
S. F. Jacobs, G. T. Moore, H. S. Pilloff, M. Sargent III, M. O. Scully, and R. Spitzer
1981
The Physics of Quantum Electronics, Vol. 9, “Free-Electron Generators of Coherent Radiation”
S. F. Jacobs, G. T. Moore, H. S. Pilloff, M. Sargent III, M. O. Scully, and R. Spitzer
1983
The Physics of Quantum Electronics, “Free-Electron Generators of Coherent Radiation,” Proceedings of SPIE, Volume 483, 440, (1984)
C. A. Brau, S. F. Jacobs, and M. O. Scully
1984
The Physics of Quantum Electronics, “Physics of Optical Ring Gyros,” Proceedings of SPIE, Volume 487
Stephen F. Jacobs, Murray Sargent III, Marlan O. Scully, James Simpson, Virgil Sanders, Joseph E. Killpatrick
2001
31st Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, J. Modern Optics, Volume 49, Issues 3 and 4, 2002
Robert W. Boyd and Marlan O. Scully
2002
32nd Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, J. Modern Optics, Volume 49, Issues 14 and 15, 2002
Robert W. Boyd and Marlan O. Scully
2003
33rd Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, J. Modern Optics, Volume 50, Issues 15-17, 2003
Robert W. Boyd and Marlan O. Scully
2004
34th Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, J. Modern Optics, Volume 51, Issues 16-18, 2004
Robert W. Boyd and Marlan O. Scully
2005
35th Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, J. Modern Optics, Volume 52, Issue 16, 2005
Robert W. Boyd and Marlan O. Scully
2006
36th Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, J. Modern Optics, Volume 53, Issues 16 and 17, 2006
Robert W. Boyd, Frank A. Narducci, and George R. Welch
2007
37th Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, J. Modern Optics, Volume 54, Issues 16 and 17, 2007
Frank A. Narducci and George R. Welch
2008
38th Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, J. Modern Optics, Volume 55, Issues 19 and 20, 2008
Frank A. Narducci and George R. Welch
2009
39th Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, J. Modern Optics, Volume 56, Issues 18 and 19, 2009
George R. Welch and Frank A. Narducci
2010
40th Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, J. Modern Optics, Volume 57, Issue 19, 2010
Frank A. Narducci and Marlan O. Scully
2011
41st Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, J. Modern Optics, Volume 58, Issue 21, 2011
Frank A. Narducci and George R. Welch
2012
42nd Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, J. Modern Optics, Volume 60, Issue 1, 2013
Frank A. Narducci and George R. Welch
2013
43rd Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, J. Modern Optics, Volume 61, Issue 1, 2013
George R. Welch and Frank A. Nadrucci
2015
45th Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, J. Modern Optics, Volume 63, Issue 1, 2016
Frank A. Narducci and George R. Welch
2016
46th Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, J. Modern Optics, Volume 65, Issue 9, 2017
George R. Welch and Frank A. Nadrucci
2017
47th Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, J. Modern Optics, Volume 66, Issue 11, 2018
George R. Welch and Frank A. Narducci
2018
48th Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, In press.
George R. Welch and Frank A. Narducci
2019
49th Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, Papers being accepted.
George R. Welch and Frank A. Narducci
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