Kerry Vahala is the Jenkins Professor and Professor of Applied Physics at Caltech. He is known for his studies of devices called optical microcavities and their application to a wide range of subjects including miniature frequency and time systems, microwave sources, parametric oscillators, astrocombs and gyroscopes. Vahala also made early contributions to the subject of cavity optomechanics and demonstrations of chip-based devices to cavity QED phenomena. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the IEEE and the OSA. Vahala received an Alexander von Humboldt Award for his work on ultra-high-Q optical microcavities, a NASA achievement award for application of frequency combs to exoplanet detection, and the OSA Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award for a 2-photon optical clock. He was also involved in the early effort to develop quantum-well lasers for optical communications and received the IEEE Sarnoff Award for his research on quantum-well laser dynamics.