OSA | Living History

Mary Lou Jepsen

OSA Awards & Distinctions



Mary Lou Jepsen received her Bachelor of Science degree from Brown University in 1987. She then received her Master of Science degree in Media Technology from MIT in 1989. In 1996, she earned her Ph.D. in Optical Physics from Brown University.

Jepsen has worked in many capacities for companies like Google and Facebook, and she has established her own non-profits, including the highly successful One Laptop per Child. Upon completing her Ph.D., Jepsen joined Philips Consumer Electronics and Research as a Senior Member of Technical staff. In 1995, she co-founded and was the Chief Technology Officer for MicroDisplay Corporation, a company that primarily created microdisplay technology for virtual and augmented reality, wearables, and flat screen HDTVs. She then worked for Intel Corporation in their Display Division before joining MIT as a professor.

In 2005, she co-founded and was the Chief Technology Officer for One Laptop Per Child, a non-profit organization that developed technology to make laptops affordable for children in developing countries. After this venture, she founded Pixel Qi Corp, which was the world’s only fabless display developer and a spin-off of One Laptop Per child.

In 2012, she became the Head of Display Division at Google, and, in 2015, became Executive Director of Engineering for Facebook and Oculus. Most recently, she founded in 2016 Openwater. This company seeks to replace the functionality of MRI with consumer electronics. This would revolutionize medical diagnostics.

For her work, she has received a wide range of awards. She was won the IF Product Design Award, the Horace Mann Medal, Mobile Innovation Award, INDEX Design Award, Best of Computex Award, Display of the Year Award, Anita Borg “Woman of Vision” Award for Innovation, 3 Popular Science “Best of What’s New Awards,” IEEE ACE Award Grand Prize, World Technology Award, and the NBA/Cisco Inspiring the Future Award. She is a member of the WITI Hall of Fame, an OSA Fellow, and on several lists including CNN’s top 10 thinkers, Forbes Top 50 Women in Technology, TIME’s 100 Most Influential People, and has been named one of the top 50 Female Computer Scientists of all time. She received the 2011 OSA Edwin H. Land Medal.

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Document Created: 13 Feb 2020
Last Updated: 13 Feb 2020