Optical Society Confers 17 General and Specialty Awards for 2008


Lyndsay Meyer
The Optical Society

Optical Society Confers 17 General and Specialty Awards for 2008 

WASHINGTON, April 14—The Optical Society (OSA) is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of many of its prestigious awards.  The winners include: Peter Knight, Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus W. Quinn Endowment; Eric Mazur, Esther Hoffman Beller Medal; Peter W. Milonni, Max Born Award; Bahaa Saleh, Distinguished Service Award; Ursula Keller, Joseph Fraunhofer Award/Robert M. Burley Prize; Kam Yin Lau, Nick Holonyak, Jr. Award; Adolf W. Lohmann, Emmett N. Leith Medal; Richard P. Van Duyne, Ellis R. Lippincott Award; L. Cary Gunn, Adolph Lomb Medal; Michael S. Feld, William F. Meggers Award; Barry L. Shoop, OSA Leadership Award-New Focus/Bookham Prize; Kanti Jain, David Richardson Medal; Brian A. Wandell, Edgar D. Tillyer Award; Robert R. Alfano, Charles Hard Townes Award; Robert W. Tkach, John Tyndall Award; Jonathan P. Heritage and Andrew M. Weiner, R.W. Wood Prize.  These award winners join an esteemed group of past recipients in their perseverance, ingenuity and foresight in the field of optics.

“OSA is delighted to honor the top professionals in the field of optics,” said Elizabeth Rogan, OSA executive director.  “These awards are given to the science pioneers that have made invaluable contributions to the research, education and understanding of optics and photonics.  OSA congratulates them on their achievements.”

The review process for each of the awards is stringent, with all nominees evaluated by a selection committee. While the criteria differ for each award, the judging process remains the same. A nomination form is submitted, along with a brief citation summarizing the nominee’s accomplishments, emphasizing those that make him/her a candidate for the particular award, a one-page narrative description touching on the most significant events in the candidate’s career, a curriculum vitae and a minimum of four letters of reference for the candidate. The OSA Board of Directors appoints a committee to oversee each nomination process. The committee is then responsible for evaluating each nominee and choosing the person most deserving of the award.  Finally, the committee’s recommendations are presented to the OSA Board of Directors for their review and approval.  

“The OSA Board takes great pride in the accomplishments of these outstanding scientists, researchers, educators and businesspeople,” said OSA President Rod Alferness.  “We are honored to recognize the dedication and accomplishments of our peers.”

The awards to be presented are as follows:

Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus W. Quinn Endowment

Recipient:  Peter Knight
The highest award conferred by OSA for overall distinction in optics, this award is presented to Peter Knight for his immense contribution to optics through pioneering research in quantum optics and by his unique combination of educational, organization and leadership skills.He is principal of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Imperial College London.

Esther Hoffman Beller Medal

Recipient: Eric Mazur
Eric Mazur has been awarded the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal, recognizing outstanding contributions to optical science and engineering education, for developing and globally disseminating the innovative teaching methodology now known as “Peer Instruction,” which promotes deeper understanding of the fundamentals of science.  Mazur is the Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University.

Max Born Award

Recipient: Peter W. Milonni
Peter W. Milonni, laboratory fellow and associate in the Theoretical Division (Complex Systems Group) at Los Alamos National Laboratory, has been selected to receive this year’s Max Born Award, presented in recognition of contributions to physical optics. He is being honored for his exceptional contributions to the fields of theoretical optics, laser physics and quantum mechanics, and for dissemination of scientific knowledge through authorship of a series of outstanding books.

Distinguished Service Award

Recipient: Bahaa Saleh
Bahaa Saleh has been awarded this year’s Distinguished Service Award, recognizing outstanding service to the optical community and to OSA, for his distinguished service to the Optical Society and the optics and photonics community, and for leadership in the area of publicationsHe is a professor and former chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Boston University.  He will start a new position as dean of the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Optics and Photonics and director of the UCF Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL) in 2009.

Joseph Fraunhofer Award/Robert M. Burley Prize

Recipient: Ursula Keller
This year’s Joseph Fraunhofer Award/Robert M. Burley Prize, presented in recognition of significant accomplishments in optical engineering, is being awarded to Ursula Keller for her seminal contributions to the development and application of ultrafast lasers and, notably, her pioneering work on semiconductor saturable absorber mode-locking.  Keller is a professor of physics at ETHZürich.

Nick Holonyak, Jr. Award

Recipient:  Kam Yin Lau
Honoring his seminal contributions to high-speed direct modulation of semiconductor lasers through enhanced differential optical gain, Kam Yin Lau is being presented the Nick Holonyak, Jr. Award. This award recognizes significant contributions to optics based on semiconductor-based devices and optical materials, including basic science and technological applications.  He is professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.

Emmett N. Leith Medal

Recipient: Adolf W. Lohmann
The inaugural Leith Medal, given for influential contributions to the field of optical information processing, is being awarded to Adolf W. Lohmann for his seminal contributions to the fields of optical information processing and holography.  Lohmann is a retired professor at the University of Erlangen.

Ellis R. Lippincott Award (co-sponsored with the Coblentz Society and the Society for Applied Spectroscopy)

Recipient: Richard P. Van Duyne
Richard P. Van Duyne, who is the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University, has been selected to receive the Ellis R. Lippincott Award for the discovery, development and application of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy in ways that have profoundly influenced vibrational spectroscopy, surface science, electrochemistry, ultrasensitive chemical/biological sensing and applications in plasmonics. The Lippincott Award, co-sponsored by OSA, the Coblentz Society and the Society for Applied Spectroscopy, recognizes outstanding contributions to vibrational spectroscopy.  The selection committee consists of members from all three societies.

Adolph Lomb Medal

Recipient: L. Cary Gunn
The Lomb Medal, recognizing noteworthy contributions to optics before reaching the age of 35, goes to L. Cary Gunn for his pioneering work in the development and commercialization of silicon photonics.  Gunn is co-founder and chief technology officer at Luxtera, Inc. in Carlsbad, Calif.

William F. Meggers Award

Recipient: Michael S. Feld
Michael S. Feld is being honored with the William F. Meggers Award for major contributions to the foundations of laser spectroscopy, and for pioneering developments in the application of spectroscopy to biomedicine.The Meggers Award honors outstanding work in spectroscopy.  Feld is a professor of physics and director of the George R. Harrison Spectroscopy Laboratory at MIT.

OSA Leadership Award-New Focus/Bookham Prize

Recipient: Barry L. Shoop
Barry L. Shoop is being awarded the OSA Leadership Award-New Focus/Bookham Prize for his leadership and vision in furthering optics education and humanitarian purposes, including founding the first engineering school in Afghanistan and his contribution to the global fight against terrorism, as expressed in his activities in the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.  The award is given in recognition of an individual or group of optics professionals who have made a significant impact on the field of optics and/or made a significant contribution to society.  Col. Shoop is a Signal Corps officer and an Academy professor serving as the electrical engineering program director at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.

David Richardson Medal

Recipient:  Kanti Jain
Recognizing contributions to optical engineering, primarily in the commercial and industrial sectors, the Richardson Medal is presented to Kanti Jain for his pioneering contributions to the development of high-resolution optical microlithography technologies, especially for the invention and development of excimer laser lithography and systems for production of microelectronic devices. He is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Edgar D. Tillyer Award

Recipient: Brian A. Wandell
The Edgar D. Tillyer Award goes to Brian A. Wandell, who is the Isaac and Madeline Stein Family Professor at Stanford University, for his outstanding contributions to the science of color vision and color imaging systems, and for pioneering work on brain imaging that has illuminated the organization and function of human visual processing.  The Tillyer Awardrecognizes distinguished work in the field of vision.

Charles Hard Townes Award

Recipient:  Robert R. Alfano
Robert R. Alfano, distinguished professor of science and engineering at City College of CUNY, receives the C. H. Townes Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to the field of quantum electronics. He is being honored for his contributions to the discovery and investigation of supercontinuum generation and the development of tetravalent chromium-based tunable solid-state lasers.

John Tyndall Award (co-sponsored with IEEE/Lasers and Electro-Optics Society)

Recipient: Robert W. Tkach
Awarded in recognition of contributions to fiber optic technology, the Tyndall Award goes to Robert W. Tkach for his pioneering breakthroughs in high-capacity transmission systems and networks, including the invention of NZDF (non-zero dispersion fiber) and dispersion management of optical fiber nonlinearities.  He is the director of transmission systems research at Bell Labs.  This award was presented in February at OFC/NFOEC 2008.

R.W. Wood Prize

Recipients: Jonathan P. Heritage and Andrew M. Weiner
The Wood Prize recognizes an outstanding discovery, a scientific or technological achievement or an invention. This year’s prize goes to Jonathan P. Heritage and Andrew M. Weiner for their pioneering contributions to the development of programmable optical pulse shaping and its applications to ultrafast optics and photonics.  Heritage is professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering at the University of California, Davis and Weiner is the Scifres Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University.

OSA bestows many of these awards during a formal presentation ceremony that will take place at the plenary session of the society’s annual meeting, Frontiers in Optics, on the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 21 at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center in Rochester, N.Y.  More information about the OSA awards program, previous award winners and the annual meeting can be found on OSA's Web site at www.osa.org .

About OSA

Uniting more than 70,000 professionals from 134 countries, the Optical Society (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visit www.osa.org .

Editor’s Note: Complete biographies for and photos of the recipients are available upon request.