OSA Fellow David H. Rank was born in Annville, Pennsylvania, USA. He graduated from Lebanon Valley College and became a graduate assistant at Pennsylvania State University in 1930. He spent his entire career at Penn State working in spectroscopy. Specifically, he studied high precision infrared spectroscopy. He devised various measuring techniques that vastly improved precision. He was known as a leader in the adaptation of the laser for spectroscopy. His work substituted the use of light-sensitive electronic devices for slower and less precise photographic plates. He became head of the Penn State physics department in 1964 and retired in 1972. He published 175 papers and was a faculty member for 38 years
Rand received OSA's highest honor, the Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus Quinn Award in 1969.
He passed away in 1981 at the age of 74.