LIA Names Laser Era Revolutionary Paul Seiler Recipient of 2017 Schawlow Award

For Immediate Release:

ORLANDO, FL – September 20, 2017 – The Laser Institute of America (LIA) proudly announces Dr. Paul Seiler winner of the 2017 Arthur L. Schawlow Award. The LIA selected Seiler for pioneering laser use, expanding the field of industrial laser use, and creating innovative tools. He has shown a fundamental understanding of laser materials interactions and how laser capabilities can be applied to daily life.

Seiler will address the laser community during the LIA Awards Luncheon, which is part of the 2017 International Congress on Applications of Lasers & Electro-Optics (ICALEO®). ICALEO conference attendees are invited to attend this momentous awards ceremony, a long-standing LIA tradition, in an awards luncheon sponsored by EdgeWave GmbH Innovative Laser Solutions. The ceremony takes place at 12:30 p.m. on October 25th, 2017, in Atlanta, GA.

The LIA created the Schawlow Award, given annually, for those who distinguish themselves through excellence in work related to basic and applied laser research. It is named after its initial recipient and 1981 Physics Nobel Prize Winner, Arthur L. Schawlow, whose work was instrumental to the invention of the laser. He was renowned for leveraging optical properties and co-obtaining the maser patent with Charles Townes.

Seiler will be recognized for his lifelong achievements in laser science and engineering. This year’s award recipient was a revolutionary – unhindered by the disbelief he encountered, and a dreamer from the beginning of his career.

“I started in 1963 inside a larger company and they lost the belief in lasers, that turned out to be a big misjudgment,” Seiler told LIA in a recent interview. “I wanted to follow my dream and was able to convince an owner of a small company that manufactured springs for watches, that he needs a laser.”

By sharing his knowledge about the uses and applications of lasers for manufacturing, Seiler gave the manufacturer an invaluable tool, which helped the company become Haas Laser, and eventually TRUMPF Laser, a world leader of solid state laser companies.

Seiler stands as a visionary and an influencer.

“In 1963 I encountered the laser for the first time,” he said. “At this time only a few people in the world had the vision that the laser would become such an important tool in the future.”

He went on to study precision mechanics at the University of Applied Sciences in Karlsruhe, Germany. The University of Stuttgart presented Seiler with an honorary doctorate in 2008, and he worked for 11 years as the managing director of TRUMPF Laser GmbH & Co. KG in Schramberg.

Seiler applied a fiber optic cable, known as the Laser Light Cable, to the laser. This innovation proved his continuous drive towards a robust laser. According to Seiler, the development was crucial for the success of solid-state lasers and, today, remains one of the keys for “easy to use” lasers. He believes the availability of the Laser Light Cable will increase the use of Ultra-Short-Pulse-Lasers in the next few years.

Seiler’s achievements include:

  • Only 11 years after the laser was invented, his first laser was applied in the 24/7 industrial application of lasers, paving the way for further innovation in 1971.
  • He engineered systems of lasers and components, setting a precedent for using lasers in conjunction with machines.
  • He developed high-power CW Lasers and was responsible for the “Mega-Installation” of more than 400 lasers for Volkswagen, fueling the widespread use of lasers in the automotive industry.
  • The TRUMPF laser group grew to be one of the largest solid-state laser companies in the world with production sides in the United States, Japan and Europe.

“Today I’m happy to share my fascination with all of the LIA laser-fascinated people,” Seiler told the LIA. “When I see how far the laser has come, I’m proud that I always believed in its success. I would like to be an example for the younger generation, motivating them to follow their passion. I thank LIA for supporting the laser society.”

Driven by limitless curiosity, Seiler’s inquisitive mind continues to thrive on the study and application of lasers.

“Even 14 years after retirement, I’m still just as fascinated by lasers as in 1963.” Seiler said.

To listen to honored speaker Dr. Seiler join us at ICALEO! For more information, visit


About LIA

The Laser Institute of America (LIA) is the professional society for laser applications and safety serving the industrial, educational, medical, research and government communities throughout the world since 1968., 13501 Ingenuity Drive, Ste 128, Orlando, FL 32826, +1.407.380.1553.