Valentin Gapontsev was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Russia. Valentin Gapontsev is #766 in List Billionaires People In The World. Valentin Gapontsev is considered by Russians to be the father of the fiber-optic laser industry. In 1990, at age 51, he founded IPG Photonics, which produces high-power fiber-optic lasers for cutting materials and telecommunications. The company is based in Oxford, Mass., but operates all over the world. He studied laser physics at the Soviet Academy of Science's Institute of Radio Engineering and Electronics. Gapontsev holds Russian and U.S. citizenships and lives in Worcester, Mass.