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Chapter 12:
Emil Wolf and Optics in the Czech Republic
Emil Wolf was born in Prague, and after holding various positions he began work at the University of Rochester. He was there when Prof. B. Havelka contacted him during the ICO Congress in Paris in 1963. After that we had various levels of interaction, less fragmented before 1990 and more intense after 1990. However, from the earliest contacts, Prof. Wolf has strongly influenced modern optics in the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia), particularly its development in the branches of physical optics, optical physics, and quantum optics. Before 1990, a more systematic collaboration began after the International Optical Conference held in Jena in 1979, especially as related to contributions to Progress in Optics. After 1990 he visited the Czech Republic to cooperate with the Charles University, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, and with the Palacký University in Olomouc, which awarded him a Gold Medal and an honorary doctorate. He also received a Gold Medal from the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. He became a member of Friends of the Palacký University, supporting scientific competitions of students, and an honorable member of Societas Scientiarum Bohemica. His most recent collaboration involved cooperating in the preparation of new volumes of Progress in Optics. This was also a period when he strongly supported us by providing copies of fundamental books. We should also mention his support in publishing the fundamental book in thin film optics by A. Vašíˇcek. In this contribution, we would like to summarize and recall some earlier results achieved under his influence. In particular we would like to mention imaging with partially coherent beams of arbitrary order, the phase problem, arbitrary ordering of field operators in multimode formulation, and the related inverse problem of reconstruction of the statistical properties of radiation from photocount measurements. The latter includes nonclassical states, application to generalized multimode superpositions of signal and quantum noise describing nonclassical behavior of systems, the quantum Zeno effect, spectral coherence, and nonlinear optical couplers. These results were further continued by systematic studies of the propagation of radiation in random and nonlinear media and of quantum theory of measurements, quantum cloning, quantum information, etc. Some of these results were reviewed earlier in several Progress in Optics articles.
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