OSA | Living History

Over a Century of Optics & Photonics

OSA’s story is one of steadily increasing diversity, as the society builds on a long-standing commitment to fully reflect the ever-greater global reach and inclusiveness of optical science.

OSA arose at a time of immense uncertainty, with Europe embroiled in 1916’s “Great War.” Yet OSA’s birth also reflected a spirit of optimism, flowing from the preceding half-century’s amazing progress in optical science. And that optimistic spirit has been borne out repeatedly in the succeeding 100 years.
 


60 Years of Lasers. Pump up the Light.

60 Years of Laser Innovation - Celebrate Light

Celebrate Light

60 Years of Laser Innovation

Dr. Theodore Maiman of Hughes Research Laboratories, with the first working laser.
Photo Credit: HRL Laboratories, LLC

Theodore Maiman

OSA Fellow

Charles Townes standing with the second ammonia beam MASER at Columbia University, 1955. Photo courtesy of the AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Physics Today Collection

Charles Hard Townes

OSA Honorary Member

Schawlow shooting at a double balloon with a toy gun that included a real laser. The gun would pop the inside blue balloon but not the clear outer one, showing that lasers could be tuned to pass through a transparent surface.

Arthur Schawlow

OSA President, 1975

J. P. Gordon standing with the second ammonia beam MASER at Columbia University, 1955. Photo courtesy of AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Physics Today Collection

James P. Gordon

OSA Honorary Member

 
We are only at the beginning of what optics technology can do,
The Optical Society and its members will continue to be at the forefront of advancing the science of light.
Alan Willner, 2016 OSA President