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Institute Professor Hermann Haus, quantum optics pioneer, dies at 77

Institute Professor Hermann Anton Haus, one of the world's leading authorities on optical communications, died on May 21. He suffered a heart attack after arriving home in Lexington from his regular 15-mile commute by bicycle from MIT. He was 77 years old.

"Hermann Haus was one of the great scientist-engineers who helped to define MIT," President Charles M. Vest said. "His pathbreaking work in quantum optics spanned from basic physics to engineering systems. He was a warm and inspiring teacher and colleague."

Haus was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in the former Yugoslavia. When Tito's Communist-backed forces expelled the German-speaking population shortly after the end of World War II, he and his mother were shipped to Austria with other refugees. He came to America in 1948 and earned a B.S. from Union College in 1949 and an M.S. in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1951.

Haus received the Sc.D. from MIT in 1954, the same year he joined the faculty as an assistant professor. He became an associate professor in 1958 and full professor in 1962. He was named an Institute Professor in 1986.

Haus' survivors include his wife of 50 years, Eleanor (Laggis), four children, four grandchildren and two step-grandchildren. A funeral service was held on May 27 at the Church of Our Redeemer in Lexington. Memorial donations may be made to MIT, Hermann Haus Fund, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139-4307, or the Church of Our Redeemer.

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A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 4, 2003.

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