1987 President Robert G. Greenler received a BS from the University of Rochester and a PhD from Johns Hopkins University. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he taught from 1962-1992. His technical research centered on the optical properties of surfaces.
With a colleague in 1973, Greenler started “The Science Bag,” a family friendly lecture series that occurred weekly on Friday evenings and one Sunday a month, filling the 250-seat lecture room in the university’s Physics Building. In its 30-year existence the program attracted a cumulative audience of over 140,000 people.
Over the decades, Greenler’s dedication to demonstrating the beauty of optical phenomena in nature was a major contribution to the optics community and beyond. Greenler’s presentations whether written or spoken were engaging, informative, and unmatched.
Greenler received a number of awards for his outreach work including the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Ernest Spaights Plaza Award. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in 1974. In 1993, the Esther Hoffman Beller Award for extraordinary leadership in advancing the public appreciation and understanding of science and the scientific method through his lectures and demonstrations of optics to diverse audiences, his writings, and his advocacy for science and education.