Michael Smith, PhD

Michael Smith

Title: Consultant

Location: Pasadena, California, United States

Michael Smith, PhD, Consultant in Optomechanical Engineering, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Scientists for dedication, achievements, and leadership in Optical Engineering.

With more than 50 years of professional experience, Dr. Smith has been an independent consultant in optomechanical engineering since 2014, having been a consultant for the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) from 2013 to 2014. Prior to going independent, he was the design leader of the LIGO Project at Caltech from 1996 to 2013, an assistant professor and head of the physics program at California Lutheran University from 1990 to 1996, and the president of Exocor from 1978 to 1995.

From 1973 to 1978, Dr. Smith was the senior staff engineer of the Signer Librascope Division. He previously worked with the Britt Corporation as director of research and vice president from 1968 to 1973. Earlier in his career, Dr. Smith was a member of the technology staff at HRL Laboratories, LLC, from 1965 to 1968.

Dr. Smith knew from an early age that he wanted to work as an engineer. He began his career as a student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he obtained a Bachelor of mechanical Engineering in 1959 and a Master of Science in nuclear engineering in 1961. Under the tutelage of Prof. Earl McDaniels at Georgia Tech, Dr. Smith changed his focus from nuclear physics and encouraged him to purse a doctorate. He subsequently joined Case Western Reserve University, earning a PhD in plasmophysics in 1965.

A respected voice in his field, Dr. Smith has been affiliated with numerous organizations in his community. A member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, he is also a member and the former chair of the Laser Electro-Optic Society. He has also been affiliated with Sigma Xi, Pi Tau Sigma, and he has been a Greek folk dance teacher with the Thousand Oaks, California, Arts Council.

Dr. Smith is renowned for his contributions to the field, having invented several devices, including an emergency vehicle warning and traffic control system, a flat electro-optic display panel, a high power mirror, a laser recording film with opaque coating, an infrared laser photocautery device, and a pulsed gas laser with radiation cooling. He holds eight patents in the United States, as well as 9 in other nations. In 2017, the LIGO Project’s founders were awarded a Nobel Prize, which his memoir, “To Catch a Black Hole from the Bottom of the Pond,” covers in detail. Dr. Smith is particularly proud of his entrepreneurial work, especially in surgical eye instruments.

In his free time, Dr. Smith enjoys art, poetry, writing, singing, and teaching Greek folk dance.

For more:


To Catch a Black Hole from the Bottom of the Pond

Contact Dr. Smith

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