Professor of Physics and Electrical and Computing Engineering
University of Colorado
Kapteyn-Murnane Laboratories, Incorporated
Country of origin: Ireland
What I do.
I teach classroom physics, and optics and lasers. In collaboration with my husband, Henry Kaptyen, who is also a professor, we work with graduate students, postdocs, and undergraduate and high school students in our laser research labs, using very short laser and x-ray pulses for many applications in science and technology. We also run a small laser company that sells high power femtosecond lasers.
What I find exciting.
The thrill of discovery. The opportunity to collaborate with scientists from all over the world with different expertise than mine, in many areas of science and engineering. The limitless energy of the students, and the ability to help the next generation of scientists and engineers succeed. The opportunity to travel.
What I wish someone had told me.
Learn to ignore the bad experiences along the way. What matters is to hang in there, help others, and go after what makes you personally happy. You do not have to be a clone of the previous generation to succeed. Believe in yourself.