Obituaries

Obituaries

OSA mourns the passing of these distinguished colleagues.

Donald S. Nicholson, 1918-2016
November 11, 2016

Donald “Don” S. Nicholson, OSA Fellow and Emeritus Member, passed away on 11 November 2016 at the age of 98. Nicholson was an active member of The Optical Society and the Optical Society of Southern California (OSSC).  Nicholson served as OSSC President from 1969-1970 and became an OSA Fellow in 1972. His OSA membership spanned more than 50 years, having joined the Society in 1...


Isaac Abella, 1934-2016
October 23, 2016

Isaac Abella, OSA Fellow and noted physicist, passed away on 23 October at the age of 82.  Abella specialized in laser physics, quantum optics, and spectroscopy of rare-Earth laser materials. Over the course of his career, Abella would become a beloved teacher and mentor to undergraduate students at the University of Chicago.      Abella was born in Toronto, Canada, and ea...


Patricia R. Wakeling, 1923-2016
September 21, 2016

Patricia “Paddy” R. Wakeling, former Managing Editor of Applied Optics (AO) and recipient of the OSA Distinguished Service Award, passed away on 21 September 2016 at the age of 93. Wakeling was known for her boundless energy and expertise in scientific publishing. Over the course of her 30 year career with OSA, Wakeling held several pivotal positions in the Executive Office, includi...


Charles H. Henry, 1937-2016
September 16, 2016

Charles H. Henry, recipient of the OSA Charles Hard Townes Award, passed away on 16 September 2016 at the age of 79. Henry was well known for his work in semiconductor-based science and optical technologies, having spent the majority of his career at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ (1965-1997).  He served as the head of Bell Labs solid state electronics department from 1970-1975. ...


Ali Javan, 1926-2016
September 12, 2016

Ali Javan, co-inventor of the gas laser and recipient of the OSA Fredrick Ives Medal, passed away on 12 September 2016, at the age of 90.  Javan’s career in physics and spectroscopy spanned more than 50 years.  The helium-neon laser which he co-invented with William R. Bennett in 1960 was the first continuous light laser.  In addition to many scientific applications, future...


Katharine Blodgett Gebbie, 1932-2016
August 17, 2016

Katharine Blodgett Gebbie, former director of the physics laboratory at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), passed away on 17 August 2016.  Gebbie’s career at NIST spanned more than 45 years, during which she served as Chief of the Quantum Physics Division, Acting Director of the Center for Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, and Director of the Physics L...


Ahmed Zewail, 1946-2016
August 02, 2016

Ahmed Zewail, a pioneer in femtochemistry and recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, passed away on 2 August 2016 at the age of 70. Zewail was known for his work with femtosecond lasers, which his team utilized to monitor chemical reactions at a scale of a femtosecond, or a millionth of a billionth of a second.  Most recently, his group worked on four-dimensional microscropy, whic...


Wade Thomas Cathey, Jr., 1937-2016
July 07, 2016

Wade Thomas “Tom” Cathey, Jr., an OSA Fellow and an expert in the field of optical engineering, passed away on 7 July 2016 at the age of 78.  Cathey was known as a pioneer in wavefront coding, a technology used in optical imaging systems, and received the OSA Joseph Fraunhofer Award/Robert M. Burley Prize in 2013 for seminal contributions to the field of computational optical i...


John M. J. Madey, 1943-2016
July 05, 2016

John M. J. Madey, OSA Senior Member and pioneer of the free electron laser, passed away on 5 July 2016 at the age of 73. A free electron laser can produce very high intensity and high quality coherent electromagnetic radiation that is tunable over a wide range of frequency.  Madey’s work on the free electron laser resulted in significant discoveries in the areas of physics, chemistry...


Marcus Turowski, 1983-2016
June 19, 2016

Marcus Turowski tragically passed away on 19 June 2016 while hiking the Ventana Canyon Trail in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, Arizona, USA.  Turowski and colleagues from Laser Zentrum Hannover (Germany) were attending The Optical Society’s Optical Interference Coating (OIC) Conference and Exhibition.  Turowski  was a member of Photonic Materials group within...