Harry Atwater is the Otis Booth Leadership Chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science at the California Institute of Technology. Atwater’s scientific effort focuses on nanophotonic light-matter interactions. His work spans fundamental nanophotonic phenomena and applications, including active wavefront shaping of light using metasurfaces, optical propulsion of lightsails, quantum and 2D nanophotonics as well as solar energy conversion, on earth and in space.
Atwater was an early pioneer in nanophotonics and plasmonics and gave a name to the field of plasmonics in 2001. He is Chair of the LightSail Committee for the Breakthrough Starshot program. Currently Atwater is also the Director for the Liquid Sunlight Alliance (LiSA), a Department of Energy Hub program for solar fuels, and was also the founding Editor in Chief of the journal ACS Photonics. Atwater is a Member of the US National Academy of Engineering, a Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher, and the recipient of the 2021 von Hippel Award of the Materials Research Society.