10 October

The Optical Society Reaffirms Core Values of Inclusivity, Diversity in Science


Washington--The Optical Society (OSA) rejects all forms of sexism and sexist discrimination in keeping with one of our Core Values, inclusivity.

Our statement of this Core Value reads, in part:

“Modern scientific research increasingly depends on diverse collaboration for success. This interdisciplinary, global exchange of knowledge must be broadly inclusive, seeking contributions from all sources, based solely on excellence.”

It was a great step forward to learn on 2 October that OSA Fellow and past-president, Dr. Donna Strickland, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for her contributions to the development of chirped-pulse amplification of laser light, a breakthrough in laser physics. 

Strickland is the first woman to have won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 55 years. She shared this year’s award with two other laser physics pioneers, Dr. Arthur Ashkin and Dr. Gérard Mourou. 

The video produced by Dr. Mourou in 2010 ostensibly to promote laboratory laser science as a topic that is exciting and enjoyable, unfortunately strayed into territory that was overtly demeaning to female scientists.  

 Mourou has apologized for this offensive video production, and has disavowed and rejected the sexist and discriminatory attitudes towards women that it implies.  OSA similarly rejects any sexism in science and technology and was pleased to learn of Dr. Mourou’s apology.

Moving forward, OSA expects all members of The Optical Society to diligently uphold our Core Values, including that of Inclusivity. 


Ian Walmsley, President, The Optical Society

Elizabeth Rogan, CEO, The Optical Society