Williams, Gareth T.


Williams, Gareth T.

Date Updated




Academic Rank


Year Retired from SJSU


Educational Background

University of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1961 Ph.D.

University of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1957 B.Sc.

Teaching Experience

Lower, upper, and graduate level courses at SJSU, 1963-2003

Workshop instructor for the Laser Institute of America, 1991-1999

Principal investigator for the LASE Project supported by the National Science Foundation and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory involving 20 national, regional, and local workshops on high school experiments involving lasers, 1991-1999

Taught general physics at Stanford, 2004-2005

Administrative and Professional Experience

Director of the LASE Project at SJSU

CEO of Laser LightLab Inc. (1998-2004)


Department, School, and University RPT committees

Board member of the Laser Institute of America (1988-1994)

Selected Publications

Text: "Laser Experiments for the Classroom".

Journal of the Laser Applications (5), on various experiments suitable for instructional labs.

Nature (2) Monitoring a fly's heartbeat using a laser, and measuring plant movement holographically.

Physics Education: “Do-it-yourself holography”

Personal Commentary

SJSU generously allowed me three leaves during the forty years I spent on the Faculty:

The first --a leave of absence in 1966--- allowed me to work for the British Aircraft Company in the burgeoning field of holography. Upon returning to SJSU in 1967 I established an optics "emphasis" in our upper and graduate division courses.

The second---a sabbatical in 1974---again at the BAC furthered my depth in holographic applications resulting in an expansion of our laboratory capabilities and involvement of new faculty to form a Concentration in Modern Optics. My second sabbatical in 1987 at Brighton University in the UK resulted in a complete laboratory designed for high school seniors and lower division students, which eventually resulted in grants from the National Science Foundation to provide workshops for instructors using the material. Between 1987 and my last sabbatical in 1996 I was heavily involved with the workshops both on the east and west coasts of the U.S.

The last sabbatical at the University of Wales in Cardiff. resulted in the development of inexpensive modified laser pointer kits and their being sold by Laser LightLab Inc, a company which I formed in 1998 and which operated until 2004 with a total income of about $100,000 (only about $10,000 profit!). This venture was encouraged by purchases of the kits from the Laser Institute of America, the Lawrence Livermore National Lab (education group), and many, many school districts.

I am so very grateful to SJSU for allowing me so much flexibility in my teaching assignment, and for supporting all my research and professional activities. I have been one lucky guy. To all my colleagues…"Some sunny day".

Date Completed: 2.23.2010


Williams, Gareth T.