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Obituaries

Obituaries

OSA mourns the passing of these distinguished colleagues.

Amyand David Buckingham CBE, FRS, 1930-2021

February 04, 2021

A. David Buckingham, OSA Fellow and 2001 recipient of the Charles Hard Townes Medal, passed away on 4 February 2021 at the age of 91. Buckingham was formerly a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. He was known for his research in the area of chemical physics and specifically, the measurement and understanding of the electric, magnetic and optical properties of ...

Robert W. Hellwarth, 1930-2021

January 20, 2021

Robert “Bob” W. Hellwarth, OSA Fellow and recipient of the Charles Hard Townes Award, has passed away at the age of 90. Hellwarth was a renowned researcher, having made significant contributions in the area of nonlinear optical devices. He was best known for inventing and demonstrating "Q-switching," a contribution that led to the field of high-power lasers. Hellwarth&rsqu...

Vittorio Degiorgio, 1939-2021

January 17, 2021

Vittorio Degiorgio, OSA Fellow and Professor Emeritus at the University of Pavia, Italy, passed away on 17 January 2021 at the age of 82. Degiorgio was a brilliant researcher who inspired a passion for photonics in his students, and a mentor to countless scientists during his 30-year career at the University of Pavia. His research interests included statistical properties of laser radiation, la...

Thomas I. Harris, 1930-2021

January 16, 2021

Thomas I. Harris, OSA Fellow and founder of Optical Research Associates, passed away on 16 January 2021 at the age of 90. Harris founded Optical Research Associates (ORA) in 1963 and served as ORA CEO and Chief Scientist until his retirement in 2000. ORA would go on to become a leading provider of optical design software applications and engineering services for government, commercial, and cons...

Thomas J. McIlrath, 1938-2020

December 22, 2020

Thomas “Tom” J. McIlrath,  OSA Fellow and former Professor at the University of Maryland at College Park, MD, has passed away.  McIlrath was a Professor in the Institute for Physical Science and Technology at the University of Maryland at College Park and associate dean for research and graduate studies in the graduate school. McIlrath was also a staff member at the Nation...

Narinder S. Kapany, 1926-2020

December 04, 2020

Narinder S. Kapany, OSA Fellow and pioneer in the development of fiber optics, passed away on 4 December 2020 at the age of 94. Kapany was a physicist and entrepreneur who was known as the “Father of Fiber Optics” for his work to demonstrate the transmission of images through optical fiber bundles. Kapany collaborated with Professor Harold Hopkins at Imperial College London and thei...

Mark I. Stockman, 1947-2020

November 22, 2020

Mark Stockman, physics professor and OSA Fellow, known for his work in the area of nanoplasmonics, has passed away at the age of 73. Stockman was passionate about the nano-sciences and dedicated his career to expanding research and funding for the field. Stockman was made an OSA Fellow in 2011 for pioneering work in nanophotonics and plasmonics: discovery of nearfield hot spots, invention of SP...

James "Jim" J. Burke, Jr., 1931-2020

November 14, 2020

James “Jim” J. Burke, Jr., OSA Fellow and OSA Emeritus Member, passed away on 14 November 2020 at the age of 89. Burke was a Professor Emeritus of Optical Sciences within the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona. Burke was known for his broad interest and understanding of optics and his contributions to optical data storage at OSC in the 1990s. His...

Nabil H. Farhat, 1933-2020

November 03, 2020

Nabil Hasan Farhat, OSA Fellow and Professor Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, PA, passed away on 3 November 2020 at the age of 87. Farhat was a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering, with a focus on optoelectronics and photonics. He was known for both his early work on the optical realization of neural networks, and his more recent research o...

Arthur Ashkin, 1922-2020

September 21, 2020

Arthur Ashkin, Nobel Laureate and OSA Honorary Member, known for his pioneering work to create optical tweezers, has passed away at the age of 98. Many considered Ashkin the father of laser radiation pressure. His work in the area of optical trapping and manipulation of small dielectric particles using optical gradient forces would become the foundation for the future of physics research in ult...