In Memoriam: John O’Brien, 1969-2017
John O’Brien, OSA Fellow and Executive Vice Dean of Engineering at USC Viterbi, passed away on 31 March 2017 at the age of 48. O’Brien was an active OSA volunteer having served on a number of programmatic committees and was made an OSA Fellow is 2008 for this contributions to the science and technology of photonic crystal devices.
O’Brien received his BS degree in electrical engineering from Iowa State University and MS and PhD degrees in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology. He joined the University of Southern California in 1997 as an assistant professor and was promoted to full professor in 2006. In 2006, he also became the Sr. Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and in 2011, O’Brien was promoted to USC Viterbi Executive Vice Dean of Engineering. During his tenure at USC Viterbi, O’Brien was known for developing a culture of collaboration and inclusion, and he was instrumental in coordinating student recruitment and academic programs for the engineering school.
O’Brien’s research interests included nanophotonics and photonic crystal devices and he was a senior member of IEEE. He served as a volunteer on the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) Subcommittee on Optical Materials, Fabrication and Characterization from 2003-2005, the Integrated Photonics Research (IPR) Subcommittee on Nanophotonics for 2003-2005, the Technical Program Committee for the Device Research Conference for 2004-2005, and the Technical Program Committee for the Information Photonics Conference for 2005. In 1999, O’Brien received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and the 2000 National Science Foundation Career Award.
OSA and the scientific community mourns the loss of John O’Brien.