OSA | Living History

Susan N. Houde-Walter

2005 OSA President Susan Houde-Walter received a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College in 1976.  Houde-Walter did graduate work at the University of Rochester earning an M.S. and a Ph.D. in optics in 1983 and 1987, respectively. Houde-Walter joined the faculty of The Institute of Optics of the University of Rochester in 1987 and, was appointed professor of optics in 1998. She joined the University of Arizona’s College of Optical Sciences as an adjunct professor in 2005.

Houde-Walter’s research interests include novel optical materials, optical and x-ray spectroscopy, and optoelectronic design. She is well-known for her work in optical materials, particularly optical glass and the molecular structure of multicomponent glasses. She holds one U.S. patent and has published over 100 journal papers and invited talks.

In 1989 Houde-Walter co-founded LaserMax Inc., a manufacturer of laser-diode based products for law enforcement and industry. Houde-Walter is a fellow of OSA and the American Ceramic Society. She has served on the OSA Board of Directors and in a variety of leadership positions for the Society.  She is currently a member of OSA's Strategic Planning Committee and the Presidential Advisory Committee. 

She received the 2020 Stephen D. Fantone Distinguished Service Award for her outstanding service to OSA through numerous advisory and leadership roles, including 2005 President, Board of Directors Member and Chair of the Optics and Photonics News Editorial Advisory Committee.

I was raised as an artist (printmaking, sculpture, painting). Only in my mid-20s did I begin to study math and science. Because the change came in my early adulthood, I had the opportunity to notice differences in cognitive style between the fine arts and scientific disciplines. 

Susan Houde-Walter, OPN November 2005


Susan Houde-Walter started out as an artist--OSA Stories

1 March 2019

2005 OSA President and OSA Fellow Susan N. Houde-Walter, CEO of LaserMax, USA, reflects on her unusual start in optics and how a hologram inspired her to leave her career in the arts for a career in optics--OSA Stories

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Susan Houde-Walter started out as an artist--OSA Stories

Susan Houde-Walter started out as an artist--OS...

1 March 2019

2005 OSA President and OSA Fellow Susan N. Houd...

Document Created: 12 Jun 2013
Last Updated: 14 Feb 2020