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OSA | Living History

Over a Century of Optics & Photonics

Welcome to the Living History of OSA, where we celebrate the society and the science of optics and photonics over the past century and beyond! 

From the birth of the local optical society in Rochester, New York, USA, in 1915 to today, light science has made tremendous advancements. It touches the lives of each and every one of us around the globe. Join us on our journey of bringing history to life by exploring the Milestones and Celebrations, Biographies and Memoirs,  Multimedia and the Chronology of this amazing science that shapes our world.


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