Adam Kozma

In Memoriam: Adam Kozma, 1928-2014

January 31, 2014

Adam KozmaAdam Kozma, known for his contributions to optical information processing of radar data and holographic memories, died on 31 January 2014, two days short of his 86th birthday.

Kozma, the son of Hungarian immigrants, grew up in the Detroit area.  He earned degrees from the University of Michigan (B.S.E., M.S.E.), Wayne State University (M.S.) and the University of London (Ph.D.).  He enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a research engineer, specializing in radar and optical imaging. His employers included University of Michigan Willow Run Laboratories, Environmental Research Institute of Michigan (ERIM), where he served as Vice President for Radar and Corporate Development, the Syracuse Research Corporation, where he served as Vice President, and the MITRE Corporation of Boston, from which he retired in 1993.  

The Environmental Research Institute of Michigan played a key role in the development and implementation of synthetic aperture radar (SAR), an entirely new concept of radar technology at the time.  Development of an optical processing system for SAR data led Kozma, Emmett Leith and Juris Upatnieks to use the newly invented laser in conjunction with the holographic theories outlined by Dennis Gabor.  Leith and Upatnieks developed a practical technique for wave-front recording and reconstruction using lasers, thereby making possible the field of holography.

Following retirement, Kozma continued to consult for the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and industry.  He also taught a radar course at the Center for Professional Development at the University of Michigan, where he served as Adjunct Professor.  

An OSA member since 1962, Kozma was named an OSA Fellow in 1971.  He was also a Research Fellow of the IEEE.  He authored more than 25 refereed published papers, more than fifty technical reports, and he presented many papers at technical society meetings, both in the United States and abroad.  He was the recipient of numerous awards, including the OSA 2014 Emmett N. Leith Medal and the Ordnance Medal from the American Defense Preparedness Association.  

Kozma is survived by his wife Rebecca, a son, a stepdaughter, two stepsons and several grandchildren.

If you would like to make a memorial donation to an OSA Foundation fund or endowment in honor of Adam Kozma, please visit

OSA Awards Won

Emmett N. Leith Medal