OSA | Living History

Dietrich Marcuse

OSA Awards & Distinctions



OSA Fellow Dietrich Marcuse first became interested in physics in the post-war era. He worked in a “power station” that converted ac to dc and dc to ac for power rationing in Russian-controlled areas. His family was fortunate because of his position and received power during both the ac and dc times of the ration. He came across his sister’s physics books and the interest was cemented. After passing the Arbitu exam, he attended the Freie Universitaet in Berlin to study mathematics, later transitioning to physics. He graduated in 1953.

He began doctoral studies, but quickly decided that due to the political climate, he would not continue with that path. Instead, he started work at Siemen’s in their Berlin cable work factory in the Central Lab. He soon moved to the US to work at Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey, ultimately moving there in 1957. He remained at Bell Labs for 37 years, working as a consultant for nine years after his retirement.

He received the 1989 Max Born Award "For his outstanding contributions in developing the theoretical framework for light propagation in dielectric waveguides, complemented by his textbooks which have significantly impacted the education and training of optical scientists and engineers."



Document Created: 4 Feb 2020
Last Updated: 24 Apr 2020