Optica Foundation President and 2017 Optica President Eric Mazur is the Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University and Area Dean of Applied Physics. An internationally recognized scientist and researcher, he leads a vigorous research program in optical physics and supervises one of the largest research groups in the Physics Department at Harvard University. Dr. Mazur founded several companies and plays an active role in industry. He has served OSA previously as Director at Large.
Dr. Mazur came to Harvard University in 1982 after obtaining his Ph.D. at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. In 1984 he joined the faculty and obtained tenure six years later. Dr. Mazur has made important contributions to spectroscopy, light scattering, the interaction of ultrashort laser pulses with materials, and nanophotonics. He received an Honorary Doctorate from the École Polytechnique and the University of Montreal (2008) and holds Honorary Professorships from Beijing University of Technology, Beijing Normal University, and the Institute of Semiconductor Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Eric Mazur has received numerous awards, including the Esther Hoffman Beller award from Optica and the Millikan Medal from the American Association of Physics Teachers. He is a Fellow of Optica and the American Physical Society, and a Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences of the Netherlands and the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities. He has held appointments as Visiting Professor or Distinguished Lecturer at Princeton University, Vanderbilt University, the University of Leuven in Belgium, National Taiwan University in Taiwan, Carnegie Mellon University, and Hong Kong University.
Dr. Mazur has served on numerous committees and councils, including advisory and visiting committees for the National Science Foundation, and has chaired and organized national and international scientific conferences. He serves as a consultant to industry in the electronics and telecommunications industry. In 2006 he founded SiOnyx, a company that is commercializing black silicon, a new form of silicon developed in Mazur's laboratory, and he is currently serving as chair of its Scientific Advisory Board. In 2011 he founded Learning Catalytics, a company that uses data analytics to improve learning in the classroom. The company was acquired by Pearson in 2013. Mazur is Chief Academic Advisor for Turning Technologies and serves on the Scientific Advisory Panel for Allied Minds, a pre-seed investment company creating partnerships with key universities to fund corporate spin-outs in early stage technology companies.
In addition to his work in optical physics, Mazur has been very active in education. In 1990 he began developing Peer Instruction, a method for teaching large lecture classes interactively. Dr. Mazur's teaching method has developed a large following, both nationally and internationally, and has been adopted across many science disciplines. Dr. Mazur is author or co-author of close to 300 scientific publications, 23 patents, and several books, including Principles and Practice of Physics (2014), a book that presents a groundbreaking new approach to teaching introductory calculus-based physics. Mazur is a sought-after speaker on optics and on education.
As an educator, I found some of my most exciting interactions this year in my many visits to OSA student chapters. Our student members constitute OSA’s future, and among them are the upcoming leaders of our field.
Document Created: 26 Jul 2023
Last Updated: 28 Aug 2023