LIA award recognises importance of laser bioeffects research

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The Laser Institute of America has awarded the 2011 George M. Wilkening Award to Dr Benjamin Rockwell for his exceptional contributions to laser bioeffects research. The LIA presented the award at the 2011 International Laser Safety Conference (ILSC) in San Jose, California in March. Dr Rockwell is a principal research physicist in the US Air Force Research Laboratory at Brooks City-Base in San Antonio, Texas.

Established in 1997, the award is named after the first ANSI Z136 standards committee chairman; it is intended to recognise individuals who have made extensive contributions to laser safety in science, medicine, industry or education.

'The research done by Dr Rockwell and his team on retinal damage for pulses shorter than one nanosecond has allowed, for the first time, the development of standards covering this regime,' said Peter Baker, executive director of the LIA. 'We were proud to present him with this well deserved award.'

Dr Rockwell has performed significant service to the national laser safety (ASC Z136) committee and currently chairs the subcommittee responsible for publishing the ANSI Z136.1 standard for safe use of lasers. He is a major contributor to the US delegation to the international laser safety committee (IEC/TC 76).