Girish S. Agarwal, Fellow of the Royal Society, UK (born 7 July 1946) is a theoretical physicist. He is presently Noble Foundation Chair and the Regents Professor at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, US, and is a recognized leader in the field of theoretical optics and quantum optics.[1]

Career and research

He is best known for his pioneering contributions to quantum optics, quantum statistics and coherent control of quantum systems. He has also made major contributions to the fields of nonlinear optics, nano photonics and plasmonics. With more than 650 reviewed papers Girish S. Agarwal has contributed to a wide range of topics in the fields of optics and quantum optics. In 2013 he published a textbook Quantum Optics (Cambridge University Press), covering a wide variety of recent developments in the field, which has been well received by the community.

Girish S. Agarwal has received numerous awards for his achievements in the field of optics and quantum optics. This includes the Einstein Prize for Laser Science (1994), the TWAS Prize in Physics (1994), and the Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar Award in Physical Sciences by the Government of India (1982). He was invited to the Sir JC Bose Chair at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, India, and the JRD Tata Chair at The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India. In 2012 he was recognized by the Oklahoma State University by the “Eminent Faculty Award”.


Born in Bareilly, India, Agarwal studied physics at the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gorakhpur University (BSc in 1964) and Banaras Hindu University (MSc in 1966). In 1969 he received his PhD from the University of Rochester, followed by post-doctoral appointments at the University of Rochester, the University of Stuttgart, Germany, and The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India. In 1974, at the age of 28, he published his first monograph Quantum Statistical Theories of Spontaneous Emission and their Relation to other Approaches at Springer (Springer Tracts in Modern Physics, Vol 70). This classic on light-matter interaction and spontaneous decay has since been a standard reference for quantum optics researchers worldwide.

After few years at The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and the Institute of Science, Mumbai, India, he was appointed in 1977 full professor at the University of Hyderabad, India, where he had the major responsibility to set up the School of Physics. In 1995 Girish S. Agarwal was appointed Director and Distinguished Scientist of the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, India. From 1995 to 2000 he served additionally as Honorary Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, India, and from 2001 to 2005 held the Einstein Centenary Research Professorship of the Indian National Science Academy. Numerous guest professorships have taken him to the major centers of optics and quantum optics throughout the world, including the University of Rochester, Texas A & M University, College Station, the University of Colorado, Boulder, the Max-Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, Garching, Germany, the Max-Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Erlangen, Germany, the Universities of Essen, Ulm, and Erlangen, Germany, the Technical University of Vienna, Austria, and the University of Manchester, UK.


  1. ^ "INSA Fellow". INSA. 2017. Retrieved July 9, 2017. 

Selected publications

  • Quantum statistical theories of spontaneous emission and their relation to other approaches, Springer Tracts in Modern Physics Band 70, 1974
  • Quantum Optics, Cambridge University Press 2012
  • Publisher Selected Papers on Fundamentals of Quantum Optics, SPIE Press 1995
  • Publisher Selected Papers on Resonant and Collective Phenomena in Quantum Optics, SPIE Press 1995