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Icons of Progress

Excimer Laser Surgery


No product, idea, or achievement is possible without our most critical asset—the collective thought capital of hundreds of thousands of IBMers. The expertise, technical skill, willingness to take risk, and overall dedication of IBM employees have led to countless transformative innovations through the years. Meet team members who contributed to this Icon of Progress.

  • Rangaswamy Srinivasan 

    Rangaswamy Srinivasan

    Born in India in 1929, “Sri” or “Srini” to his associates, came to the US in 1953 and earned a doctorate in physical chemistry at the University of Southern California in 1956. For thirty years (1961-90), he directed a group at the T.J. Watson Research Center that studied the effects of ultraviolet light on organic matter. During his tenure at IBM, Sri and his team published 130 scientific articles and obtained 10 patents related to excimer laser ablation. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2002

  • James J. Wynne 

    James Wynne

    Born in Brooklyn, New York, Wynne attended Harvard University, receiving an AB, MA and a PhD, all in physics. He joined IBM’s Zurich Research Laboratory in 1969 and came to the T.J. Watson Research Center in New York in 1971. He was the manager of the laser physics and chemistry group when his team discovered the use of the excimer laser for surgery. Wynne has written numerous articles in scientific journals, holds patents in laser dentistry and laser dermatology and has received numerous awards. Like his partners in discovering excimer laser surgery, Wynne is a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Wynne is currently working on a new application of the excimer laser to remove necrotic lesions of the skin, including char from third degree burns, decubitus, stasis and neuropathic ulcers. This application will result in a “smart scalpel,” producing no collateral damage to the viable tissue underlying the necrotic tissue.

  • Samuel Blum 

    Samuel Blum

    Blum received a BS in Chemistry and a PhD in physical chemistry from Rutgers University in New Jersey. He worked at Batelle Memorial Institute before joining the T.J. Watson Research Center, where he stayed for 31 years until his retirement. He holds 11 patents. In 2002, Blum, along with colleagues Wynne and Srinivasan, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 2010, they shared the Rank Prize in Optoelectronics with ophthalmologists Steven Trokel and Francis L'Esperance.