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James J. Wynne was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1943. He studied physics at Harvard University, earning his A.B. in 1964, an M.S. in 1965, and Ph.D. in 1969. Wynne went to work for IBM that year in a Zurich research lab, later relocating to the Watson Research Center in New York to manage the laser physics and chemistry team. There, he and his colleagues tested the excimer laser's ability to etch tissue without thermal damage to collateral tissue and developed its application to ophthalmic surgery techniques LASIK and PRK.
Wynne now leads the center's educational outreach efforts, including Engineers Week events and promoting the STEM fields to K-12 students. His current research interests include using the excimer laser technology in dermatologic applications, including a "smart scalpel," and he holds two patents in laser dentistry and laser dermatology.
Wynne is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), a Fellow of the OSA, a member of the IEEE, and a member of the American Association of Physics Teachers. He served on the APS Council representing the Forum on Education, which he helped to create. He also served on the APS Committee on Education, including a one-year term as chair, and on the OSA Board of Directors and Education Council. He has served on numerous boards and committees of the National Research Council and is a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.