Herb Winful – professor of optics, friend of the arts

Winful discusses life in education

In a new interview, Prof. Herb Winful discusses the many facets of his career as an educator and researcher.

Prof. Winful has made fundamental contributions to nonlinear fiber optics, nonlinear optics in periodic structures, the nonlinear dynamics of laser arrays, the propagation of single-cycle pulses, and the physics of tunneling. His awards include the Arthur F. Thurnau Professorship, the Amoco/University Teaching Award, the State of  Michigan Teaching Award, the  College of Engineering Teaching Excellence and Service Excellence Awards, and two EECS Professor of the Year Awards.

In a TEDxUofM talk delivered in 2015, “How Hidden Passions Can Connect People,” Prof. Winful reminisced about the many artistic influences in his life that keep him active and creative. He discussed the interdisciplinary course he helped create, UARTS 250: Creative Process, and the creative challenges of teaching engineering principles to students of the arts.

Prof. Herb Winful's talk at TEDxUofM, "How Hidden Passions Connect People"

Prof. Winful is also committed to outreach, working as PI on the USAID-funded EHELD program. Established in 2011, EHELD works to help develop a strong academic program in Liberia that could train a generation of engineers to rebuild the country. Prof. Winful has been coordinating efforts within the College of Engineering, which included supporting two Liberian graduate students to study at U-M, bringing Liberian faculty to campus, and sending Michigan students and faculty to Liberia to share their knowledge.

Most recently, Prof. Winful worked with the U-M chapter of SWE to bring six women from Liberian universities to the national SWE conference in America.

Read about Prof. Winful’s work setting up the EHELD program.