James Wynne

Profile Updated: April 16, 2021
Residing In: Mount Kisco, NY USA
Spouse/Partner: Barbara J. (Silverberg) Wynne: wed in 1964
Homepage: View Website
Occupation: Scientist, Program Manager
Family:

Wife: Barbara J. (Silverberg) Wynne, wed in 1964
Barbara is from Rochester, NY. She went to college at Boston University, where she majored in Psychology and Education. Her first day at B.U. in 1961, she met Susan Diamond, a "gem" of a girl who knew me from the previous year and who made the match. On our first date, I was smitten. But it took me some time to propose marriage. We were married on August 22, 1964. The ensuing 50+ years have been fabulous.

Barbara taught 2nd grade in the Boston area while I was going through graduate school. After our second child started college in 1994, Barbara worked as an office manager at a Temple and later at a Music School. She is now retired.

Son: Keith A. Wynne, born 1974
Keith attended University of Delaware, where he majored in Early Childhood Education and Family Studies. After college, he taught English in Japan for two years, the second year as a kindergarten teacher to Japanese children in an all-English language school. Since returning from Japan, he has taught all grades of elementary school. He has a Masters in International Education from Columbia Teachers College and recently earned a Masters in School Administration from Baruch College. He is currently serving as a STEM Instructional Lead in the NY City Department of Education, based in Brooklyn North's Office of Field Support.
In 2012, Keith wed Theresa. She gave birth to a son, Oliver, on 12/18/2013, and a daughter, Charlotte, on 7/21/2016. Keith's parents know that he is a great father.

Daughter: Alexis E. (Wynne) Mogul, born 1976
Alexis attended Vassar College, where she majored in Physics (a "chip of the old block"). After college, she worked at Lawrence Livermore Lab, east of San Francisco. Then she attended Cornell University, where she earned a Masters in Applied and Engineering Physics.

In 2004, she married Douglas Mogul, who had been pursuing her since 1992 in high school. They moved to San Francisco in 2006, where Doug was trained in Pediatrics at Stanford University Medical Center. They now live to Baltimore, where Doug is on the staff of Johns Hopkins Children's Center . Alexis is the Co-Managing Editor, Journal of Neuro-Opthamology, a web-based, peer-reviewed journal.

Grandchildren: Amelia and Jonah Mogul, twins, born 12/5/2006.
They are terrific (and delicious) children (and I'm not the least bit biased). Barbara and I love to spend time with them, and Baltimore brings them closer to us than San Francisco. (Check out their pictures below)

Oliver McMahon Wynne, born 12/18/2013!!!!!!
Charlotte Crotty Wynne, born 7/21/2016!!!!!!

Education:

Harvard College, B.A. - 1964
Harvard University, Ph. D., Applied Physics - 1969

Career:

Lewis Love, my high school physics teacher, turned me on to physics as a possible career. During the summer of 1963, I took a job on Long Island working with lasers, which had been invented in May, 1960, just before we graduated from high school. At the end of the summer, I decided to go for a doctorate in physics and also propose to Barbara, both without first asking my parents permission. So I finally "grew up" at that summer.

My Ph. D. thesis at Harvard was in the area of nonlinear optics, a field that emerged with the invention of the laser. My thesis advisor, Nicolaas Bloembergen, later was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for being the "father" of nonlinear optics.

Fresh with my doctorate, I joined IBM Research, where I have been employed for ~50 years. For my first assignment, I worked at the IBM Zurich Research Lab in Ruschlikon, Switzerland, a suburb of Zurich. There I continued to investigate nonlinear optics.

Life in Europe was fantastic. Things cost ~1/4 of what they cost in the United States. We could eat at fine restaurants for $2/person. We could ski all day for $4/person. In Austria, we could stay in a chalet/hotel for $4/night, with a private bath and breakfast. Those were the "good old days."

During the week, I worked at IBM and Barbara planned our weekend trip. We traveled to Spain, Italy, France, Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, England, and everywhere in Switzerland. I estimate that I skied on 50 different days during my two winters in Switzerland.

Upon returning to the US in January, 1971, I joined the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, where I have worked ever since. We moved to our home in Mt. Kisco in 1973, and are still there.

At IBM, I continued to work in laser physics research through the early 1990s. Since then, I have had an administrative job with the office of the Director of Research. I spend a major part of my time recruiting IBMers to volunteer for technical education outreach, i.e., visiting local schools to get kids aware of and interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), with the goal being to stock the pipeline of future engineers and scientists.

As for my work in laser physics, my highest impact achievement was to co-invent excimer laser surgery, the foundation for laser refractive surgery (LASIK, PRK) -
National Inventors Hall of Fame profile . My IBM colleagues and I have received many awards for this discovery, including the National Medal of Technology and Innovation (presented to me by President Obama at the White House on February 1, 2013) and the National Academy of Engineering's (NAE) Russ Prize (presented to me at the NAE Awards Dinner and Ceremony on February 19,2013) , but the best personal reward was that my son, who was myopic and astigmatic, had the PRK procedure in 2006 and now sees 20/15 in each eye.

April 16, 2015 video of me entitled LASIK Surgery: How IBM's Dr. James Wynne Discovered It

2010 marked the 50th anniversary, not only of our high school class' graduation, but the invention of the laser. Several professional science societies organized a celebration: LaserFest . See my LaserFest Profile as one of the "Important People in Laser Science."

In Jan. 2011, I was interviewed during a laser science and engineering conference in San Francisco.
8-minute-long video of that interview

In Oct. 2015, I was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering. Two other IBMers who were also inducted are Ginni Rometty, IBM CEO, and Ghavam Shahidi, my IBM Research colleague.

In May 2018, the National Inventors Hall of Fame(NIHF) annual induction ceremony was held at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. The NIHF created a "cartoon" image of me as a "superhero" for my invention of excimer laser surgery. I uploaded this image to my profile. Take a look.

A Merry 2018 Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you.


One more thing: In 2005, Les Paul was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his invention of the solid body electric guitar. For the occasion, I composed lyrics about the 2005 inductees, to the melody of Les and Mary Ford's hit song "How High the Moon." At the induction event, Les joined the combo providing background music for the event, and they played "How High the Moon" while I and many of the other attendees sang my lyrics - see a picture of us in my photo album. Les passed away on August 13, 2009, at the age of 94. His influence on modern music is staggering.

Lifelong Hobbies:

Tennis - since 1952; my hand-to-eye coordination and my serve have never been better; my speed afoot leaves a lot to be desired; but I now bend my knees, the failure to do so being the "Achilles Heel" of my tennis youth
Squash rackets (until ~10 years ago) - I was a member of our varsity team that was the national champion in 1963-64. But I can't really brag too much, because my roommate, Vic Niederhoffer, who played #1 on the varsity for three years, was the intercollegiate champion, won the U.S. Nationals on 5 different occasions, and even won the North American Open in 1975. To learn more about Vic, see Victor Niederhoffer
Reading:
My favorite book of fiction is The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, even though I mostly disagree with her philosophy, i.e., I am a democrat, NOT a libertarian.
I recently reread The Crash of '79, by Paul Erdman, a fictional account of massive misbehavior, i.e. bad loans by big banks, compounded by a misguided war to take over the middle eastern oil fields. It is a great read, with an eerie foresight about the worldwide financial crisis launched in 2008.
I very recently read 2018's
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
by John Carryrou, about the rise and fall of the firm Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech startup headed by Elizabeth Holmes. It serves as a warning to not be taken in by something that seems too good to be true.
Travel - lived in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Zurich; honeymooned in Bar Harbor, Maine; visited our grandchildren in San Francisco many times, and now visit them in Baltimore; visited our son while he lived in Japan; love to visit Sedona, AZ; visited Istanbul in May, 2011; visited Berlin, Prague, and Paris in May, 2013; most memorable short vacation trip: Florence, Italy.
Listening to music - Beethoven, Saint-Saens, Tchiakovsky, especially his violin concerto performed by Jascha Heifetz with Fritz Reiner conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Favorite movies - Lady and the Tramp & Fantasia, especially the
"Dance of the Hours" ballet featuring dancing hippos, ostriches, elephants, and alligators.

Community Activities:

In the past, I served on the Board of Directors of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America. the National Inventors Hall of Fame. and as an alternate (for the IBM Director of Research) on the Board of the New York Hall of Science, a hands-on science museum in Flushing Meadows Park, built during the 1964-65 World Fair.

Comments:

Thoughts on the completed 50th Reunion:
I enjoyed the Reunion more than any one else. I feel like I was in labor for the past 5 years and was gratified to "give birth" to a very exceptional "baby" named "50th Reunion." Being there made me feel 50 years younger. All of you who attended were part of my "Fountain of Youth!"

Did You Graduate From North Or South?

North

Elementary School Info:

Kensington School - last part of 1st grade, 2nd grade - Mrs. White
Saddle Rock School - 3rd grade, 4th grade - Miss Jansen, 5th grade - Mrs. Colvin, 6th grade, Ms. Watkins

James' Latest Interactions

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James Wynne has left an In Memory comment for Sally Levitt Steinberg.
Jun
17
Jun 17, 2021 at 9:22 PM

Submitted by Elizabeth "Betsy" Marcus (Dowling)

All of us girls remember Sally with great admiration and affection. She was a role model for those of us who aspired to be writers. Her "The Donut Book" is a delicious classic, and she deserves to be remembered as "America's Donut Princess." 

James Wynne has left an In Memory comment for Donald Bloch.
Jun 17, 2021 at 9:11 PM

Submitted by Elizabeth "Betsy" Marcus (Dowling)

Like so many of you, I remember Donny with affection and great admiration. He was so accomplished in so many ways, and he provided leadership to all of us and advice whenever anyone asked for help. He was one of a kind.

James Wynne updated profile. View.
Apr
16
Apr 16, 2021 at 12:32 PM
James Wynne has a birthday today. New comment added.
Mar
19
Mar 19, 2021 at 1:31 PM

Posted on: Mar 19, 2021 at 4:33 AM

James Wynne has left an In Memory comment for Donald Bloch.
Mar
16
Mar 16, 2021 at 6:04 PM

Donny and I were not only in high school together, we were both at Harvard for college and graduate school  In grad school, I formed a squash racquets team that competed in the Boston area "B" league competition. Donny was one of the members of my team during the 1966-67 academic year. In browsing through my scrap book from my Harvard years, I came across this picture:

I'm kneeling on the right, Donny is squatting in the middle, and the four others are my grad school classmates and friends.

This picture brings back very fond memories. Donny was very special, and I think about him often, as do many of you.

Wishing you good health and a happy and fulfilling future.

James Wynne has left an In Memory comment for Donald Bloch.
Jan
20
Jan 20, 2021 at 1:20 AM

I learned of Don's passing from Roz Avnet and informed Bobby Hamburger and Arthur Levi, who had been in regular contact with Don. They told me that he had died from COVID on January 15th. He had suffered from Parkinson's Disease for many years, which prevented him from attending our 50th reunion.

Don was our GN North valedictorian. He was Chief Editor of our ARISTA. If my memory serves me well, he was the top Latin scholar in NY state. He attended Harvard College, earning his BA in 1964, and earned a PhD from Harvard in 1971. Not only was he our top scholar in high school, he was also with me on our math and tennis teams.

He lived in Amsterdam for the past many decades (maybe ~40 years). He was a creative writer par excelllence. I recommend that you find and read his book "Seduced by the Beauty of the World: Travels in India," with photos from his colleague Iman Bijleveld, published by Harry N. Abrams in 2003.

Knowing his all-around excellence in high school encouraged me to reach higher, and I was rewarded by also getting admitted to Harvard. That's a debt to Don that I can never repay.

(I'll post another entry about Don, once I gather the information from his close friends.)

James Wynne has left an In Memory comment for Donald Bloch.
Jan 20, 2021 at 1:20 AM

I learned of Don's passing from Roz Avnet and informed Bobby Hamburger and Arthur Levi, who had been in regular contact with Don. They told me that he had died from COVID on January 15th. He had suffered from Parkinson's Disease for many years, which prevented him from attending our 50th reunion.

Don was our GN North valedictorian. He was Chief Editor of our ARISTA. If my memory serves me well, he was the top Latin scholar in NY state. He attended Harvard College, earning his BA in 1964, and earned a PhD from Harvard in 1971. Not only was he our top scholar in high school, he was also with me on our math and tennis teams.

He lived in Amsterdam for the past many decades (maybe ~40 years). He was a creative writer par excellence. I recommend that you find and read his book "Seduced by the Beauty of the World: Travels in India," with photos from his colleague Iman Bijleveld, published by Harry N. Abrams in 2003.

Knowing his all-around excellence in high school encouraged me to reach higher, and I was rewarded by also getting admitted to Harvard. That's a debt to Don that I can never repay.

Jim

(I'll post another entry about Don, once I gather the information from his close friends.)

 

James Wynne has left an In Memory comment for Donald Bloch.
Jan 20, 2021 at 1:20 AM

I learned of Don's passing from Roz Avnet and informed Bobby Hamburger and Arthur Levi, who had been in regular contact with Don. They told me that he had died from COVID on January 15th. He had suffered from Parkinson's Disease for many years, which prevented him from attending our 50th reunion.

Don was our GN North valedictorian. He was Chief Editor of our ARISTA. If my memory serves me well, he was also the top Latin scholar in NY state. Not only was he our top scholar in high school, he was also with me on our high school math and tennis teams.

He would get into any college to which he applied, and the winner was Harvard, where he earned his BA in 1964 and PhD in 1971. 

Knowing his all-around excellence in high school encouraged me to reach higher, and I was rewarded by also getting admitted to Harvard. That's a debt to Don that I can never repay.

Don lived in Amsterdam for the past many decades (maybe ~40 years). He was a creative writer par excellence. I recommend that you find and read his book "Seduced by the Beauty of the World: Travels in India," with photos from his companion Iman Bijleveld, published by Harry N. Abrams in 2003.

Jim

1/23/2011 -  Great to see all these comments, which recall how much we admired Donny and share how much he meant to us.

James Wynne added a photo to profile gallery.
Jan
17
Jan 17, 2021 at 8:30 PM
Cathedral Rock in Sedona, AZ, a place we have often visited, most recently in December, 2019. This picture hangs on the wall in our den, reminding us to come back to Sedona when the pandemic ends.
James Wynne added a video to gallery.
Jul
01
Jul 01, 2020 at 11:55 AM
James Wynne added a video to gallery.
Jul 01, 2020 at 11:49 AM
James Wynne added a photo to profile gallery.
Jul 01, 2020 at 11:28 AM
(Latest addition to my photo gallery
Celebrating 100th anniversary of the birth of my PhD advisor, Nicolaas Bloembergen. Posing on the steps of Pierce Hall, Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA - March 8, 2020
Barbara and I are on the left of the top row.
James Wynne has a birthday today.
Mar 19, 2020 at 4:35 AM
James Wynne added a photo to profile gallery.
Dec 28, 2019 at 12:12 PM
12/23/19 at Junior's on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn.
Barbara & Jim with our grandchildren, Charlotte and Oliver, and our son, Keith.
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
James Wynne added a photo to profile gallery. New comment added.
Apr 17, 2020 at 1:08 PM

Posted on: Dec 25, 2019 at 7:17 PM

I helped "build" this 3D Periodic Table, NY's celebration of IYPT2019, the 150th anniversary of the Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements, unveiled at the New York Hall of Science on 10/18/2019
James Wynne added a photo to profile gallery.
Dec 25, 2019 at 7:12 PM
June, 2019 - I love working on JigSaw puzzles
James Wynne added a photo to profile gallery.
Sep 09, 2019 at 10:06 PM
Here I am with IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and IBM Research colleague Ghavam Shahidi, when we were inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in Oct. 2015. This great event prevented me from attending another great event, our GNHS Class of '60 55th Reunion.
James Wynne has left an In Memory comment for Sally Levitt Steinberg.
Jul 06, 2019 at 12:33 PM

Dear classmates,

With sadness, as well as fond memories, I remember Sally. She was the first girl with whom I had an actual date, sometime in our senior year. She was smart - our class salutatorian, kind, and a pleasure to know. At graduation, she wrote the following in my Arista: "Dear Jimmy, Next year at Harvard, we'll have to play tennis!" 

But we never did play tennis. We went into very different fields, she into writing and I into physics. Although we were "neighbors" during our college years in the Boston area, she at Wellesley and I at Harvard, our paths did not cross. However, I saw her at several of our high school class reunions, where we always exchanged greetings and shared fond memories.

We met again at our 50th Reunion in 2010, where I gave a speech in the high school auditorium and held up a copy of her Magnum Opus - The Donut Book, published in 2004. Sally was known as America's Donut Princess, granddaughter of the man who invented the donut-making machine.

It's a "scrumptous" read. As a physicist, I particularly like this sentence: "If Einstein is right about the curvature of space, maybe space is a big donut with lots of munchkins floating in it."

We last met in 2012 in Cambridge, where we had lunch at the Casablanca restaurant (now closed), decorated to remind patrons of scenes from the classic movie starring Humphry Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. We talked about times gone by and old friends. Then we crossed the street to the Harvard Coop, where I bought another copy of The Donut Book.

Sally, wherever you are, I will always remember you with nothing but pleasurable thoughts. Right now I'm looking at one of my copies of The Donut Book, and thinking about taking a bite.

 

James Wynne has a birthday today.
Mar 19, 2019 at 4:33 AM
James Wynne added a photo to profile gallery.
May 27, 2018 at 2:45 PM
Cartoon from the 2018 annual induction ceremony of the National Inventors Hall of Fame
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Posted: Jan 17, 2021 at 8:33 PM
Cathedral Rock in Sedona, AZ, a place we have often visited, most recently in December, 2019. This picture hangs on the wall in our den, reminding us to come back to Sedona when the pandemic ends.
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
How I looked in 1958, in Havana, Cuba, where I spent most of 11th grade. We returned to Great Neck soon after Fidel Castro took power in Cuba, and I completed 11th grade (and all of 12 grade) at GN North HS.
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
With my sister Judy (GNHS '57) in 1953, at the boat dock in GN Estates Park
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
My ticket to our 50th Reunion
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Left to right:
My father, Richard Wynne; my mother, Beatrice Wynne; my future wife, Barbara Silverberg; yours truly - at the Club Caribe, Caribe Hilton, San Juan, Puerto Rico, February 1964. Don't we look happy?

Barbara and I were married that August, and I was even happier, and still am!!
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Photo of me (in the middle) and 3 IBM colleagues being inducted as Commandeurs d'Honneur. Man on the right is the Grand-Maitre presiding over the induction ceremony
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Decree inducting me as a Commandeur d'Honneur of the Wine Society of the Medoc and Graves regions of Bordeaux, France - Sept. 1983
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
National Inventors Hall of Fame event, May 2005, when Les Paul, inventor of the electric guitar, was inducted.

I'm standing in the middle, holding up lyrics I wrote to "How High The Moon". Les is to the far right, playing a Les Paul/Gibson electric guitar. The women to the left is Joel Schmiegel, the wife of the inventor of Prozac.
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Electron micrograph of human hair, etched by pulses of ultraviolet light from an excimer laser. The discovery of this technique, by me and my IBM colleagues, laid the foundation for the laser refractive surgery procedures, LASIK and PRK.
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
My wife, Barbara; Our son, Keith; Our daughter, Alexis; myself - at Alexis' wedding, 10/3/2004 (Doug, the groom, is not in the picture)
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Posted: Jul 01, 2020 at 11:55 AM

James Wynne

Posted: Jul 01, 2020 at 11:49 AM

James Wynne