OSA members share about their work, sources of inspiration, tales from recent events, the value of OSA membership, and more.



Joseph Nilsen

 I remember attending the CLEO meeting in Baltimore in May of 1985 and hearing the talks on optical data storage. In particular I still have notes from the talk given by an employee of Sharp Corporation that described how digital audiodisk (DAD) technology was reaching the mass markets and had created a large commercial demand for semiconductor lasers for the first time. This was talk WD3 entitled “Laser diodes for audiodisk players” by T. Inoguchi and colleagues. I think... Continue Reading

Dana Bukowska


My path to a career in optics has been an adventure. Although I have only worked in the field for seven years, I have learned a lot in that time and come to love this branch of physics. It happened probably because I have been fortunate to work in an exciting, important, and timely field of research: advanced spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD OCT) for applications in ophthalmology. I have been privileged to contribute to the... Continue Reading

Walter Makous

My first meeting of the OSA

In 1962, the Optical Society of America invited 20 leading investigators of the visual system to its annual meeting in Washington, D. C., to report on advances made during the preceding 10 years in their respective fields.  As an impecunious graduate student working under Lorrin Riggs at Brown University at the time, I scraped together the money to take Amtrak from Providence to Washington and stayed in a barracks-like room at the YMCA for a few... Continue Reading

Yoshihiro Uozu

I am one of main members of photonics polymer study in Japan. My main research field is plastic optical materials such as plastic optical fibers, plastic rod-lenses and plastic optical films.

We developed the mass production process of the plastic rod-lenses (graded-index lenses) about 25 years ago for the first time in the world. A rod-lens is a cylindrical lens, which has a graded index distribution in the radial direction. Since sinusoidal light path is formed along the... Continue Reading

1985 International Conference on SDI (or Star War)

1985 International Conference on SDI (or Star War) 
One more straw to the fail of USSR and the ending of cold war

Submitted by Dr. Charles Wang, OSA Fellow and Program Chair
Email: optodyne@aol.com

Charles Wang Program Chair of the Conference and many Chinese American engineers and scientists contributed to the Strategy Defense Initiative (SDI, also known as Star War), which played an important role in the disembodiment of the Soviet Union and... Continue Reading

Rafael Espinosa-Luna

A summer afternoon I was bored, passing the pages of my elder brother´s 6th grade book, when I saw a picture that frozed my mind: a photon being emitted by an atomic, electronic transition. I was a 3rd elementary grade student and then I defined I should have to study Optics, just for the pleasure to understand it. My inspiration always has been my mathernal grandfather, who was an elementary level teacher that only a heart attack took him off from his classroom, at 84.

I... Continue Reading

Martin Dvorin

Dear fellow OSArs::

For my ninety second birthday (just short of OSA’s 100), I received this:

Happy Birthday Marty Dvorin, Founding Professor of the Monroe Community College Optics Program!

Martin Dvorin was the first professor in the country to teach Optical Systems Technology at a Community College: beginning at Monroe Community College, on Alexander Street, in Rochester, NY in 1966.

We reprint here a recollection written for... Continue Reading

David Shafer

Magnifying glasses had always seemed magical to me, as a child.  There are no moving parts or hidden mechanisms and yet this miracle occurs when you look through it.  By fooling around, as a kid, with some cheap assortments of small random lenses from Edmund Scientific I learned some basics of first-order optics. 1957 was the International Geophysical Year and astronomy was in the news.  I was 13 and living on a remote chicken farm (5,000 chickens, although by now I have... Continue Reading

Diaa Ahmed Mohamed Ahmedien

I remember when I graduated from the faculty of Art Education, Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt, and I was about to begin my master studies, I was thinking of the relationship between Art, sciences and technology. Finally I decided to begin to study Laser and its physical and chemical applications in visual arts. That was a hard decision because this specialization was so rare in Egypt. I was not able to expect that I would achieve my laser studies successfully and applying them in my art... Continue Reading

Erich Ippen, 2000 OSA President

I was very lucky.  Not just to have the honor of being a President of OSA, but because the year of my presidency, 2000, was an extraordinarily exciting year for the Society.  We had a lot of fun.  The explosive demand for optics and photonics in telecommunications and the business opportunities it created were attracting widespread attention to our profession.  The Society was becoming more international.  Our Optical Fiber Conference (OFC) attracted over 17,000... Continue Reading