Nobel Laureates 

Over the course of OSA’s nearly one hundred year history, 31 OSA members have been awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics, Chemistry or Physiology/Medicine. For a complete list of the Nobel Laureates in each category, click on the subject name below.

  • David J. Wineland (2012)
    OSA Fellow
    David J. Wineland"for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems"



    Willard S. Boyle (2009)
    OSA Member
    Boyle "for the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit - the CCD sensor"



    Charles K. Kao (2009)
    OSA Member
    Kao "for groundbreaking achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibers for optical communication"



    George E. Smith (2009)
    OSA Member
    Smith "for the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit - the CCD sensor"



    John C. Mather (2006)
    OSA Fellow
    Mather "for their discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation"



    George F. Smoot (2006)
    OSA Member
    Mather "for their discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation"



    Roy J. Glauber (2005)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Glauber "for his contribution to the quantum theory of optical coherence"



    Theodor W. Haensch (2005)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Haensch "for their contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the optical frequency comb technique"



    John L. Hall (2005)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Hall "for their contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the optical frequency comb technique"



    Eric Cornell (2001)
    OSA Fellow
    Cornell "for the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms, and for early fundamental studies of the properties of the condensates"



    Wolfgang Ketterle (2001)
    OSA Fellow
    Ketterle "for the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms, and for early fundamental studies of the properties of the condensates"



    Carl Wieman (2001)
    OSA Fellow
    Wieman "for the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms, and for early fundamental studies of the properties of the condensates"



    Zhores I. Alferov (2000)
    OSA Fellow
    Alferov "for basic work on information and communication technology"



    Steven Chu (1997)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Chu "for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light"



    Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (1997)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Cohen "for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light"



    William D. Phillips (1997)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Phillips "for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light"



    Nicolaas Bloembergen (1981)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Bloembergen "for their contribution to the development of laser spectroscopy"



    Arthur L. Schawlow (1981)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Schawlow "for their contribution to the development of laser spectroscopy"



    James Rainwater (1975)
    OSA Fellow
    Rainwater "for the discovery of the connection between collective motion and particle motion in atomic nuclei and the development of the theory of the structure of the atomic nucleus based on this connection"



    Dennis Gabor (1971)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Gabor "for his invention and development of the holographic method"



    Alfred Kastler (1966)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Kastler "for the discovery and development of optical methods for studying Hertzian resonances in atoms"



    Aleksandr Mikhailovish Prokhorov (1964)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Prokharov "for fundamental work in the field of quantum electronics, which has led to the construction of oscillators and amplifiers based on the maser-laser principle"



    Charles H. Townes (1964)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Townes "for fundamental work in the field of quantum electronics, which has led to the construction of oscillators and amplifiers based on the maser-laser principle"



    Willis Eugene Lamb (1955)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Lamb "for his discoveries concerning the fine structure of the hydrogen spectrum"



    Frederik Zernike (1953)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Zernike "for his demonstration of the phase contrast method, especially for his invention of the phase contrast microscope"



    Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (1930)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Raman "for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the effect named after him"



    Robert Andrews Millikan (1923)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Millikan "for his work on the elementary charge of electricity and on the photoelectric effect"



    Albert Abraham Michelson (1907)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Michelson "for his optical precision instruments and the spectroscopic and metrological investigations carried out with their aid"




  • Robert F. Curl, Jr. (1996)
    OSA Fellow
    Robert F. Curl "for their discovery of fullerenes"



    Gerhard Herzberg (1971)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Herzberg "for his contributions to the knowledge of electronic structure and geometry of molecules, particularly free radicals"




  • Haldan Keffer Hartline (1967)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Haldan Keffer Hartline "for their discoveries concerning the primary physiological and chemical visual processes in the eye"



    George Wald (1967)
    OSA Honorary Member
    Wald "for their discoveries concerning the primary physiological and chemical visual processes in the eye"




  • Martin Chalfie (2008)
    Chemistry
    Martin Chalfie(jointly with Shimomura and Tsien) "for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP.”



    Osamu Shimomura (2008)
    Chemistry
    Shimomura (jointly with Chalfie and Tsien) "for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP.”



    Roger Y. Tsien (2008)
    Chemistry
    Roger Y. Tsien(jointly with Shimomura and Chalfie) "for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP.”



    Gerhard Ertl (2007)
    Chemistry
    Ertl "for his studies of chemical processes on solid surfaces.”



    George Smoot (2006)
    Physics
    George Smoot(jointly with Mather) “for their discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation.”



    Koichi Tanaka (2006)
    Chemistry
    Tanaka(jointly with Fenn, one-half of the prize) "for their development of soft desorption ionisation methods for mass spectrometric analyses of biological macromolecules."



    John B. Fenn (2002)
    Chemistry
    John B. Fenn(jointly with Tanaka, one-half of the prize) "for their development of soft desorption ionisation methods for mass spectrometric analyses of biological macromolecules."



    Herbert Kroemer (2000)
    Physics
    Herbert Kroemer(jointly with Alferov, one-half of the prize)  "for developing semiconductor heterostructures used in high-speed- and opto-electronics."



    Ahmed H. Zewail (1999)
    Chemistry
    Zewail"for his studies of the transition states of chemical reactions using femtosecond spectroscopy."



    Hans G. Dehmelt (1989)
    Physics
    Hans G. Dehmelt(jointly with Paul, one-half of the prize) "for the development of the ion trap technique.”



    Wolfgang Paul (1989)
    Physics
    Paul(jointly with Dehmelt, one-half of the prize) "for the development of the ion trap technique.”



    Norman F. Ramsey (1989)
    Physics
    Norman F. Ramsey(one half of the prize) "for the invention of the separated oscillatory fields method and its use in the hydrogen maser and other atomic clocks."



    Gerd Binnig (1986)
    Physics
    Binnig(jointly with Rohrer, one half of the prize) "for their design of the scanning tunneling microscope.”



    Heinrich Rohrer (1986)
    Physics
    Heinrich Rohrer(jointly with Binnig, one half of the prize) "for their design of the scanning tunneling microscope.”



    Kai M. Siegbahn (1981)
    Physics
    Siegbahn(one-half the prize) "for his contribution to the development of high-resolution electron spectroscopy."



    Arno Penzias (1978)
    Physics
    Arno Penzias(jointly with Wilson, one half of the prize) "for their discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation.”



    Robert W. Wilson (1978)
    Physics
    Wilson(jointly with Penzias, one half of the prize) "for their discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation.”



    Ronald George Wreyford Norrish (1967)
    Chemistry
    Ronald George Wreyford Norrish(jointly with Porter, one half of the prize) "for their studies of extremely fast chemical reactions, effected by disturbing the equlibrium by means of very short pulses of energy.”



    George Porter (1967)
    Chemistry
    Porter(jointly with Norrish, one half of the prize)  "for their studies of extremely fast chemical reactions, effected by disturbing the equlibrium by means of very short pulses of energy.”



    Richard P. Feynman (1965)
    Physics
    Richard P. Feynman(jointly with Tomonaga and Schwinger) "for their fundamental work in quantum electrodynamics, with deep-ploughing consequences for the physics of elementary particles.”



    Julian Schwinger (1965)
    Physics
    Schwinger(jointly with Tomonaga and Feynman) "for their fundamental work in quantum electrodynamics, with deep-ploughing consequences for the physics of elementary particles.”



    Sin-Itiro Tomonaga (1965)
    Physics
    Sin-Itiro Tomonaga(jointly with Schwinger and Feynman) "for their fundamental work in quantum electrodynamics, with deep-ploughing consequences for the physics of elementary particles.”



    Nicolay Gennadiyevich Basov (1964)
    Physiology or Medicine
    Basov(jointly with Prokhorov, one half of the prize) "for fundamental work in the field of quantum electronics, which has led to the construction of oscillators and amplifiers based on the maser-laser principle.”



    Sir John Carew Eccles (1963)
    Physics
    Sin-Itiro Tomonaga(jointly with Hodgkin and Huxley) "for their discoveries concerning the ionic mechanisms involved in excitation and inhibition in the peripheral and central portions of the nerve cell membrane.”



    Alan Lloyd Hodgkin (1963)
    Physiology or Medicine
    Hodgkin(jointly with Eccles and Huxley) "for their discoveries concerning the ionic mechanisms involved in excitation and inhibition in the peripheral and central portions of the nerve cell membrane.”



    Andrew Fielding Huxley (1963)
    Physiology or Medicine
    Huxley(jointly with Eccles and Hodgkin) "for their discoveries concerning the ionic mechanisms involved in excitation and inhibition in the peripheral and central portions of the nerve cell membrane.”



    Polykarp Kusch (1955)
    Physics
    Polykarp Kusch(one-half of the prize) "for his precision determination of the magnetic moment of the electron.”



    Max Born (1954)
    Physics
    Born(one half of the prize)"for his fundamental research in quantum mechanics, especially for his statistical interpretation of the wavefunction."



    Isidor Isaac Rabi (1944)
    Physics
    Isidor Isaac Rabi"for his resonance method for recording the magnetic properties of atomic nuclei.”



    Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac (1933)
    Physics
    Dirac (jointly with Schrödinger) "for fluorescent protein, the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory."



    Erwin Schrödinger (1933)
    Physics
    Erwin Schrödinger (jointly with Dirac) "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory."



    Werner Heisenberg (1932)
    Physics
    Heisenberg“for the creation of quantum mechanics, the application of which has, inter alia, led to the discovery of the allotropic forms of hydrogen.”



    Niels Bohr (1922)
    Physics
    Niels Bohr "for his services in the investigation of the structure of atoms and of the radiation emanating from them.”



    Albert Einstein (1921)
    Physics
    Einstein"for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.”



    Johannes Stark (1919)
    Physics
    Johannes Stark "for his discovery of the Doppler effect in canal rays and the splitting of spectral lines in electric fields.”



    Max Planck (1918)
    Physics
    Planck"in recognition of the services he rendered to the advancement of Physics by his discovery of energy quanta.”



    Sir William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg (1915)
    Physics
    Bragg “for their services in the analysis of crystal structure by means of X-rays."



    Max von Laue (1914)
    Physics
    von Laue"for his discovery of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals.”



    Guglielmo Marconi (1909)
    Physics
    Guglielmo Marconi (jointly with Braun) "in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy."



    Karl Ferdinand Braun (1909)
    Physics
    Braun(jointly with Marconi) "in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy."



    Gabriel Lippmann (1908)
    Physics
    Lippmann"for his method of reproducing colours photographically based on the phenomenon of interference.”



    Lord Rayleigh (John William Strutt) (1904)
    Physics
    Lord Rayleigh (John William Strutt) "for his investigations of the densities of the most important gases and for his discovery of argon in connection with these studies.”



    Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (1903)
    Physics
    Lorentz(jointly with Zeeman) "in recognition of the extraordinary service they rendered by their researches into the influence of magnetism upon radiation phenomena."



    Pieter Zeeman (1902)
    Physics
    Pieter Zeeman (jointly with Lorentz) "in recognition of the extraordinary service they rendered by their researches into the influence of magnetism upon radiation phenomena."



    Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (1901)
    Physics
    Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen"in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by the discovery of the remarkable rays subsequently named after him.”