OSA History

The History of the Optical Society of America

The History website for the Optical Society of America (OSA) is a unique resource for educators and students in that it provides a historical look at the formation of OSA, as well as, the tremendous advancements in the field of optics and photonics.

Since 1916, the Optical Society of America (OSA) has grown from a local organization of Rochester, NY, USA-based optical scientists and instrument-makers into an international association representing physicists and engineers around the world. Over the years, the enthusiasm and commitment of OSA's members has helped to guide and develop the Society into the vital institution it is today. Notably, OSA's growth and evolution are a direct result of the dedication of its members.

In anticipation of its centennial in 2016, the Society has launched OSAHistory.org, a dynamic archive devoted to the extraordinary people who have advanced the field of optics and photonics. Explore the site as it tracks the "Science of Light" from OSA's 1916 establishment to recent interviews with the field's leading innovators.

  1. Exhibits features special collections such as the Laser History Timeline.
  2. The Library provides video, audio and written transcripts of interviews with leading scientists of our time and articles that recount the history of field, its pioneers and the Optical Society.
  3. The Photo Gallery is a searchable database of vintage and current images.
  4. Resources provides links to other organizations' archives and items of historical interest.

Fun and Hands-On Optics Experiments!

  • Reflection Activities
  • Transmission, Absorption and Color
  • Properties of Laser Light: Monochromatic, Coherent, and Collimated
  • Applications of LASERS: Diffraction Labs and Activities