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March 17, 2014

Russ Prize winner Wynne to lecture on breakthrough discovery behind LASIK surgery 

Dr. James J. Wynne, recipient of the 2013 Russ Prize, will discuss his role in developing the pulsed ultraviolet excimer laser, the technology behind LASIK and PRK vision correction surgeries, on Thurs., Feb. 20, at 3:15 p.m. in Ohio University’s Baker University Center Theatre.

Presented by the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology, Wynne’s Stocker Series Lecture will explain his role in developing and testing laser ablative photodecomposition technology, which led to these groundbreaking surgical procedures and improved vision for more than 25 million people.

The excimer laser was discovered by Wynne’s colleague and Russ Prize co-recipient Dr. Rangaswamy Srinivasan while working at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center and was extensively tested by Srinivasan, Wynne and a third colleague and Russ Prize recipient, the late Samuel E. Blum.

Srinivasan’s discovery in November 1981, when he irradiated cartilage from his leftover Thanksgiving turkey with the pulsed ultraviolet laser, found that it left the surrounding tissue undamaged. Srinivasan, Blum and Wynne tested the laser under controlled conditions and found that lasers at higher frequencies left surrounding tissue burned and damaged, while the lower frequency laser made incisions with no thermal damage.

Wynne and Srinivasan further tested the effects of the ultraviolet excimer laser on human tissue in collaboration with cardiologists, ophthalmologists, dermatologists, and dental anatomists, leading to similar results and the application of the laser to ophthalmic surgery.

The National Academy of Engineering and the Russ College honored Srinivasan, Wynne and Blum with the 2013 Russ Prize, a $500,000 award that honors a bioengineering achievement in widespread use that improves the human condition.

This lecture, part of the Stocker Lecture Series, is free and open to the public.

For more information on the Russ Prize, visit

For more information about the Russ College, visit


Contact: Colleen Carow at 740-707-3764 or or Adrienne Cornwall at 740-593-1477 or

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