Award Categories

Award Categories

The Optical Society recognizes and celebrates the field's technical, research, education, business, leadership and service accomplishments. Our awards program spans all areas of optics and photonics, as well as contributions made to the community.

Use the guide below to help determine the most appropriate recognition. Note – while award recipients are not required to be OSA members, in most cases nominators must be OSA members (not applicable to co-sponsored awards).

Click on a category name to see the related awards.

Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus W. Quinn Prize - the highest award of the Society, the Ives Medal recognizes overall distinction in optics.

Esther Hoffman Beller Medal - recognizes outstanding contributions to optical science and engineering education.

Stephen D. Fantone Distinguished Service Award- recognizes service to the optical community (usually presented in even-numbered years only).

The Joseph W. Goodman Book Writing Award- recognizes authorship of an outstanding book in the field of optics and photonics, published in the last six years, that has contributed significantly to research, teaching, or the optics and photonics industry (co-sponsored with SPIE and presented in even-numbered years only).

Robert E. Hopkins Leadership Award -  recognizes an individual or group who has had a significant impact on the global optics and photonics community or has had a significant impact on society as a whole stemming from non-research oriented activities.

Sang Soo Lee Award - recognizes outstanding leadership in founding or growing the optics and photonics community locally (co-sponsored with the Optical Society of Korea and presented in even-numbered years only).

Adolph Lomb Medal - recognizes noteworthy contributions made to optics at an early career stage.

Kevin P. Thompson Optical Design Innovator Award - recognizes contributions to lens design, optical engineering, or metrology at an early career stage.

Edwin H. Land Medal- recognizes pioneering work empowered by scientific research to create inventions, technologies, and products (co-sponsored with the Society for Imaging Science and Technology).

C.E.K. Mees Medal - recognizes an original use of optics across different fields. 

R. W. Wood Prize - recognizes an outstanding discovery, scientific or technological achievement or invention.

Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award - recognizes individuals for their innovative and influential contributions to the field of biophotonics, regardless of their career stage.

John Tyndall Award - recognizes contributions to fiber optic technology (co-sponsored with the IEEE/Photonics Society).

Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award - recognizes team technical achievements in optical engineering. 

Joseph Fraunhofer Award/Robert M. Burley Prize -- recognizes research accomplishments in the field of optical engineering.

David Richardson Medal - recognizes contributions to optical engineering, primarily in the commercial and industrial sector.

Emmett N. Leith Medal- recognizes seminal contributions to the field of optical information processing.

Ellis R. Lippincott Award- recognizes contributions to vibrational spectroscopy (co-sponsored with the Coblentz Society and the Society for Applied Spectroscopy).

William F. Meggers Award - recognizes outstanding work in spectroscopy.

Max Born Award - recognizes contributions to physical optics.

Charles Hard Townes Medal - recognizes contributions to quantum electronics.

Herbert Walther Award - recognizes distinguished contributions in quantum optics and atomic physics as well as leadership in the international scientific community (co-sponsored with Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG)).

Nick Holonyak Jr. Award- recognizes contributions to optics based on semiconductor-based devices and optical materials, including basic science and technological applications.