Physicist. He was born in Çorlu / Tekirdağ in 1977. His father was a retired military officer and his mother was a housewife. Having graduated from Çapa Primary School, he completed his secondary education in Antalya Anadolu High School and graduated from Ankara Samanyolu Fen High School. Upon his high school education, he earned scholarship for Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the most prestigious universities of the USA. He did double major in physics and electronics and sub specialized in economics. He did post graduate in the same university and earned postgraduate thesis award. He completed doctorate work in Standford University. He worked as a professional in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the department of computer sciences and electrical engineering. His interest in technology began with scientific and technical journals such as “Bilim ve Teknik” and this led him through many discoveries which brought him a worldwide reputation in the literature of sciences.
While he was in high school, Yanık enrolled in the Physic Olympiads team, composed of five people, first in 1994. He was given a certificate of honor in China and awarded a bronze medal. In the 1995 Australia Physic Olympiads, he and his brother Ahmet Ali Yanık earned the bronze medal. He also won Technology Review Magazine's traditional "World's Top 35 Innovators under age 35" when he was twenty-seven.
He has invented a way to stop light pulses on a computer chip. Thus he is known as the person who stopped light pulses at room temperature. Up to then, atoms were used to stop light pulses and enormous systems were needed for it. He showed that it would be possible to stop light pulses on a microchip without converting the motion of photons into the motion of electrons. Up to then, the scientists were able to stop the light only at ultra cold temperatures (-270), however Yanık proposed a new strategy to trap them on a chip at room temperature. Upon this discovery, he started researches on renewals of nerve cells with “nano surgery”, which enables surgeons to operate within 1/1,000th of the thickness of a human hair. Those researches are believed to play a fundamental role in neuropathology.
This discovery of Yanık, who receives offers from worldwide known high technology companies, was subjected in numerous worldwide newspapers and magazines. Yanık highlights that this system made it ideal for processing data: “With this system it is possible now to produce new computers we couldn’t even imagine. I want to make it happen. If it can be put into practice, it will revolutionize data-processing technology. Many computer companies make billions of dollars costing investments in today’s technology. Ours is totally different, it is going to be an alternative technology”.
Yanık has conducted researchers on physics before but now he also is interested in biology and he has done studies breaking new grounds. Recently, he has been working on renewals of nerve cells. Yanık is married to another scientist, Hatice Altuğ. They were the first place winner of Silicon Valley’ Innovators Challenge competition with their work on optical transistor. Their work was regarded as the first step to advanced “nano surgery”, which enables renewals of cells with future’s quantum computers, processing data on high speed.
Yanık says that his interest in technology began with the “Bilim ve Teknik” magazines: “While I was in secondary school, my uncle was used to read “Bilim ve Teknik” journals.” He learnt what quantum physic was while he was still a student. Ahmet Yanık, his brother, also does studies on nano technology as another physicist in the family.
REFERENCE: İnci Döndaş / “Işıkların Efendisi” (Sabah, 26 Kasım 2004), İhsan Işık / Ünlü Bilim Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 2, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013).