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11 February 2021

The Optical Society Names 17 Recipients for 2021 OSA Awards

WASHINGTON—The Optical Society (OSA) is pleased to announce 17 recipients of 2021 OSA awards and medals. Throughout the year, OSA will recognize a total of 23 awardees for their distinguished achievements. Among those honored this year are the first women to win the Max Born Award, C.E.K. Mees Medal, and John Tyndall Award.

The OSA Awards Program celebrates the field's technical, research, education, business, leadership and service accomplishments. More information is available at

“The 2021 Awardees truly embody the Society’s core values of innovation, integrity, inclusivity and impact,” said 2021 OSA President Connie Chang-Hasnain, Whinnery Chair Professor Emerita of EECS at University of California, Berkeley, USA. “They now join the ranks of OSA honorees who have greatly influenced the global optics and photonics community. In addition, I applaud the efforts of those who nominated candidates, submitted references and participated on the selection committees.” 

The 2021 recipients are:

Esther Hoffman Beller Medal
Nicholas Massa
, Springfield Technical Community College, USA
For outstanding leadership in photonics technician education, including the development and dissemination of innovative educational materials

Max Born Award
Anne L'Huillier
, Lund University, Sweden
For pioneering work in ultrafast laser science and attosecond physics, realizing and understanding high harmonic generation and applying it to time-resolved imaging of electron motion in atoms and molecules

Stephen D. Fantone Distinguished Service Award
Anthony M. Johnson
, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), USA
For decades of principled leadership and steadfast service to The Optical Society and to the optics community, and especially for serving as a tireless ambassador for OSA

Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award
Arjun Yodh
, University of Pennsylvania, USA
For pioneering research on optical sensing in scattering media, especially diffuse optical and correlation spectroscopy and tomography, and for advancing the field of biophotonics through mentorship

Joseph Fraunhofer Award / Robert M. Burley Prize
Zeev Zalevsky, Bar-Ilan University, Isreal
For significant contributions to the field of optical super-resolution including the invention of many novel concepts bypassing Abbe’s limits of diffraction and the geometric limits set by the sensor

Nick Holonyak Jr. Award
Martin D. Dawson, University of Strathclyde and Fraunhofer, UK
For wide-ranging contributions to the development and application of III-V semiconductor devices especially including gallium nitride micro-LEDs and optically-pumped semiconductor lasers

Robert E. Hopkins Leadership Award 
Pierre Chavel
, Institut d'Optique, France
For outstanding support and promotion of optics throughout Europe, and exceptional leadership in institutions and scientific societies such as OSA, SPIE, ICO, EOS, and SFO

Emmett N. Leith Medal
Bahram Javidi
, University of Connecticut, USA
For exceptional innovation and transformative technological impact on the field information optics, including pioneering contributions to digital holography for life sciences, information security, optical sensing, and processing of photon starved scenes

Ellis R. Lippincott Award (presented with the Coblentz Society and the Society for Applied Spectroscopy)
Rohit Bhargava, Univ of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
For contributions to the fundamental physics and instrument engineering of mid-IR microscopy and its applications to medical imaging

Adolph Lomb Medal
Laura Waller, University of California Berkeley, USA
For important contributions to the advancement of computational microscopy and its applications

C.E.K. Mees Medal
Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop, University of Queensland, Australia
For pioneering innovations in the transfer of optical angular momentum to particles, using sculpted light for laser manipulation on atomic, nano- and microscales to generate fundamental insight and provide powerful probes to biomedicine

William F. Meggers Award
Keith Nelson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
For expanding the horizons of impulsive stimulated Raman scattering (ISRS) to the generation of intense tunable terahertz pulses, thus establishing new transient-grating techniques for a more effective application of time-domain coherent nonlinear spectroscopy in the study of condensed phase molecular dynamics

David Richardson Medal
Majid Ebrahim-Zadeh, ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences & ICREA-Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies, Barcelona, Spain
For contributions to the advancement of nonlinear optical technology and commercial development of cutting-edge optical parametric oscillators

Kevin P. Thompson Optical Design Innovator Award
Rengmao Wu
, Zhejiang University, China
For achievements in theory and computational methods for freeform illumination optics

Edgar D. Tillyer Award 
David H Brainard
, University of Pennsylvania, USA
For groundbreaking experimental and theoretical contributions to our understanding of how the visual system resolves the ambiguities inherent in sensory signals to produce a stable percept of object color

Charles Hard Townes Medal
Mikhail Lukin
, Harvard University, USA
For his pioneering theoretical and experimental contributions to quantum nonlinear optics and quantum information science and technology, and for the development and application of nanoscale quantum systems for sensing

R. W. Wood Prize
Tobias Kippenberg
, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland
For pioneering contributions to the realization of chip-scale optical frequency combs

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

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