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Charles H. Henry

1937 - 2016
Charles H. Henry Obituary
Charles H. Henry


Charles H. Henry, 79, of Raleigh, died Friday afternoon, September 16, 2016.

Funeral services will be held at 2:30 pm Sunday, Sept. 18 at Raleigh Hebrew Cemetery, 450 N. State St., Raleigh. A memorial service and reception will be held at 7 pm Sunday at Temple Beth Or, 5315 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh.

Charles was a distinguished physicist who published 133 technical papers during his career. After receiving a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois in 1965, he joined the research staff at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ and spent his career there until retirement in 1997. Throughout that career, Charles worked at the forefront of semiconductor-based science and optical technologies: LEDs, semiconductor lasers, and integrated optical ciruits. From 1970-75, he served as head of the Bell Labs solid state electronics department.

An inventor as well as a theorist and experimenter, Charles held 28 patents, the most important of which was awarded in 1976 for what is now called the quantum well laser. He introduced the "alpha parameter" into semiconductor laser physics and used it to explain why the linewidth of a semiconductor laser is about 50 times greater than previously accepted theories had predicted. Later in his career, he investigated the fundamental properties of noise in optical communications.

Charles received the Morton Award (1999, IEEE), the Charles Hard Townes Award (1999, Optical Society of America), and the Prize for Industrial Applications of Physics (2001, American Institute of Physics). In 2012 he was inducted into the Engineering Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois. In retirement he continued to study theoretical physics and took up amateur astronomy.

Charles is survived by his wife, Helene; son, Ron, of Adelphi, MD; daughter, Karen, of Raleigh; daughter, Alice, of Katzir, Israel; sister, Barbara Weisman, of Evanston IL; and four grandchildren, Netta, Noga, Hadas, and Ido Zohar.
Published in The News & Observer on Sept. 18, 2016
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