OSA | Living History

Frank Cooke

OSA Awards & Distinctions



Frank Cooke graduated from Wabash College in 1936 with a degree in English. Graduating during the Depression, Cooke worked a wide range of jobs before joining Polaroid Corporation during World War II. After the war, he began his own optical company in Massachusetts. There, he manufactured unusual components for Polaroid, Baird-Atomic, PerkinElmer and others, helped pioneer planetary polishing in the United States, and developed techniques for polishing soluble salt crystals of NaCl, KBr, and CsI, as well as low-scatter, super-smooth mirrors for imaging X-rays. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Frank Cooke, Inc. was the sole fabricator of high-quality infrared beam splitters for Fourier-transform spectrometers.

Cooke was a Fellow of OSA. In 1971, Frank was the recipient of OSA’s Richardson Medal, an award that recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to optical engineering, primarily in the commercial and industrial sector. In 1984, he received the SPIE’s Gold Medal, their highest award.

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Document Created: 17 Sep 2020
Last Updated: 17 Sep 2020