10 August 2018

The Optical Society Announces the 2018 Emmet N. Leith Medal Recipient

WASHINGTON—The Optical Society (OSA) is pleased to name Asher Albert Friesem, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, as the recipient of the 2018 Emmett N. Leith Medal. Friesem is recognized for pioneering and wide-ranging contributions to coherent optics, particularly the development of new techniques and procedures in holographic applications and optical information processing.

The Emmett N. Leith Medal, established in 2006, recognizes seminal contributions to the field of optical information processing, including sensing and analog signal processing as well as computing (classical and quantum) and optical storage.

Friesem is Professor Emeritus at Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, where he has worked since 1973. He received his B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan in 1958 and 1968. From 1958 to 1973, he worked at Harris Inc. and at the University of Michigan’s Institute of Science and Technology. At Weizmann, he was named Professor of Optical Sciences in 1977, and has served as Department Head, Chairman of the Scientific Council and Chairman of the Professorial Council.
Friesem’s research activities have concentrated on holographic concepts and applications, optical information processing, electro-optic devices, optical displays, and new laser resonator configurations. He has served on many national and international advisory committees, and as Vice President of the International Commission of Optics (ICO) and Chairman of the Israel Laser and Electro-Optics Society. He is a Fellow of OSA, Life Fellow of Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE), has authored and co-authored over 300 scientific papers, and holds 30 international patents.
“The Award Selection Committee believes that Prof. Friesem’s work has opened the doors for many new advancements in the field,” said Rachel Grange, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, Committee Chair. “He is truly deserving of the Leith Medal recognition for his contributions.”
“Optical information processing is the backbone of numerous technologies that have become essential to everyday life and commerce,” says OSA President Ian Walmsley, who is Hooke Professor of Experimental Physics at University of Oxford, U.K. “Friesem’s work has been fundamental to these technological achievements.”
The Leith Medal is endowed by contributions from General Dynamics, the University of Michigan College of Engineering, Physical Optics Corporation and individuals, including Alexander Sawchuk, Joseph Goodman, James R. Fienup, G. Michael Morris, Tom Cathey and James Wyant.
About The Optical Society
Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit osa.org.

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