George Welch Named Head Of Texas A&M Physics And Astronomy

Dr. George R. Welch has been appointed as head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M University, announced H. Joseph Newton, dean of the College of Science.

Welch, a widely respected experimental expert in the fields of quantum optics and atomic physics and a 19-year veteran of the department, replaces Dr. Edward S. Fry, who has served since 2002 as department head and will assume a new role as associate head for development while returning to teaching and research-related duties.

“Dr. Welch and I have had extensive discussions about his goals and plans to lead the department in its teaching, research and engagement efforts — and in particular, to continue its fast rise in national rankings of physics and astronomy departments,” Newton said.

Welch, a 1979 Texas A&M physics graduate (bachelor of science, summa cum laude), received his Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989. In between earning those degrees, he served as a research assistant at MIT, then held a postdoctoral research appointment at Duke University from 1989 to 1992 prior to being appointed as an assistant professor of physics at Texas A&M.

In a vision statement prepared as part of the search process, Welch outlined several priorities for the department, including budget, research, curricular sensibility and development — goals that begin and end with the faculty as both the department’s and university’s greatest asset.

“As head of the department, I will advertise your work, promote it as much as possible and leverage all your great ideas to attract new donors, institutes and large-scale projects,” Welch advised the faculty.

A fellow of the Optical Society of America since 2003, Welch is a member of Texas A&M’s world-class quantum optics group within the Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering (IQSE). His research interests lie in quantum optics and atomic and molecular physics involving coherently prepared systems, electro-magnetically induced transparency (EIT) and slow and fast light and femtosecond molecular spectroscopy, including coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering. An equally accomplished instructor, he was honored with a Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement College-Level Award in Teaching in 1998.

For more information about Welch, visit

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