OSA | Living History

Anthony E. Siegman

1999 OSA President Anthony E. Siegman, a widely known expert on lasers and optics, was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1931. He received an A.B. degree summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1952, an M.S. in Applied Physics from UCLA in 1954, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1957. He was appointed to the Stanford Electrical Engineering faculty in 1956, and retired from the McMurtry Professorship of Engineering at Stanford in November 1998 after more than four decades as a faculty member in Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics. Immediately following his retirement he served as president of The Optical Society for 1999-2000. After his retirement, he engaged in technical writing and consulting and served as an expert witness in intellectual property and other litigation, as well as serving on advisory boards for a number of laser and fiber optic startup companies.

During his career, Professor Siegman made many research contributions in microwave and quantum electronics, laser physics and devices, and laser applications and optics, including supervising some 40 Ph.D. dissertations and publishing approximately 250 scientific articles. He wrote three texts on masers and lasers including the widely used reference and textbook LASERS (University Science Books, 1986). He was Director of the Edward L. Ginzton Laboratory at Stanford from 1978 to 1983, and spent sabbatical periods as Visiting Professor of Applied Physics at Harvard in 1965, Guggenheim Fellow at the IBM Research Labs in Zurich in 1969-70, and Humboldt Senior Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany, in 1984-85.

He was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 1973 and the National Academy of Sciences in 1988. He also received the R. W. Wood Prize, the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal, and the Frederic Ives Medal of The Optical Society for overall excellence in optics; the Quantum Electronics Award of IEEE LEOS in 1989; and the Arthur L. Schawlow Medal of the Laser Institute of America in 1991. During his career he also consulted for numerous companies and government agencies, and was a member of the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board from 1974 to 1980. Siegman became a Fellow of OSA in 1968.

In 2014, the OSA Foundation established the Siegman International School on Lasers in his honor.

Anthony E. Siegman died on 7 October 2011, please see OSA's memorial entry.

I think at this point, I would rather answer the question, “What concerns me?” 
And I think what concerns me these days are more social issues such as keeping the Web free, keeping true network neutrality, keeping the forces of commercial advertising from being even worse than they are today and taking over the Internet

Anthony Siegman, 2008 OSA Historical Interview


Document Created: 12 Jun 2013
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2019