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Leon Esterowitz Talks Lasers

Leon Esterowitz at a podium.
Photonics pioneer and National Science Foundation biophotonics program director Leon Esterowitz providing remarks after receiving an American Medical Association Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service. (Image credit: Leon Esterowitz)

This ScienceLives article was provided to LiveScience in partnership with the National Science Foundation.

Leon Esterowitz began his academic life as an English major because of his love of literature, but found himself drawn into physics, and ultimately a decades-long career in engineering. That career helped guide the development of the first medical lasers and night-vision technology, helped develop novel biophotonic medical diagnostic techniques.

He now guides research on biophotonics — a field of research that uses light to observe and manipulate tissues and cells — for a program he created more than ten years ago for the National Science Foundation.

His grantees have developed novel technologies, such as a technique to detect early stage cancer in the pancreas, lung, colon and potentially a wide range of other organs and a device that will allow doctors in rural communities to image diseased blood cells using cell phone cameras. Recently, Esterowitz was awarded a Nathan Davis Award from the American Medical Association for his contributions.

Below, he answers the ScienceLives 10 Questions.

Name: Leon Esterowitz Institution: National Science Foundation Field of Study: Photonics and Biophotonics

Editor's Note: The researchers depicted in ScienceLives articles have been supported by the National Science Foundation, the federal agency charged with funding basic research and education across all fields of science and engineering. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. See the ScienceLives archive.