Walter Lewis “Lem” Hyde was born in Minneapolis, Minn. in 1919. He studied physics at Harvard University receiving a B.Sc. in 1941 and an M.S. in 1943. While studying for his Ph.D. Hyde worked for Polaroid Corp. and then Baird Associates. After receiving his doctorate in 1949 he was named scientific liaison in the London office of the Office of Naval Research where he was responsible for tracking European physics research. He worked in London until 1953 when he became a research physicist and later director of development for the American Optical Company. Hyde joined the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester in 1963 and taught there until 1968. Later in his career, Hyde concentrated on academic administration serving as provost at New York University and executive director of the Connecticut State Technical Colleges.
Throughout his career Hyde was interested in the history of optical instruments and developed an impressive collection of instruments particularly microscopes and telescopes. His research centered on polarized light and fiber optics. Hyde held patents for devices used in ophthalmology as well as a panoramic rear-view mirror for automobiles.
In addition to his OSA activities, Hyde served as vice-president and secretary-treasurer of the International Commission for Optics.
He died in 2003.