Lester Wolfe was an inventor with a special interest in optics
and photography. He died in 1983 at the age of 86. He was
a benefactor of MIT, and his will provided funds "for
fellowships for studies in molecular biology and for research
using optical methods in the investigation of the structure
and properties of matter."
Lester was born in Boston in 1897 to a family of modest means.
He enrolled at MIT as physics undergraduate and graduated
in the class of 1919 -- well before the advent of quantum
mechanics, the atomic bomb or lasers! During World War I he
served in the armed forces as an inventor, and received a
commendation for design of the "fuel quantity gauge",
which used a radioactive source to measure the supply of fuel
stored in the wings of an airplane. After the war he became
active in industry, and he made his fortune in the field of
containerized shipping between the United States and Japan.
He became an expert in pre-Colombian art and technology, and
a collector in this field and several others. Toward the end
of his life Lester became interested in furthering research
in biology and medicine as well as in the area that he loved
most, optics. That is how he developed an interest in the
research projects of the Spectroscopy Laboratory.
The Lester Wolfe Workshop in Laser Biomedicine is a series
of talks dedicated to a particular aspect in biomedical optics.
The panel of speakers of the Workshop is chosen from expert
researchers in academia, medical profession and industry.
Held twice a year in May and December, the Lester Wolfe Workshop
series is sponsored by the MIT LBRC, MGH Wellman Laboratories,
and Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.