Skip To Content

09 January 2014

OSA Foundation Launches Tingye Li Innovation Award Campaign


Lyndsay Meyer
The Optical Society

OSA Foundation Launches Tingye Li Innovation Award Campaign

Tingye LiWASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 2014—The OSA Foundation today announced the launch of a fundraising campaign to establish an award in honor of the late optical communications pioneer Tingye Li. The Tingye Li Innovation Award will recognize top-performing young professionals who have demonstrated innovation in their research presented at the annual OFC Conference and Exposition.

Li, who passed away in December 2012, was a past president and fellow emeritus of The Optical Society (OSA) and was well known for his contributions to lightwave technology and optical fiber communications. The award, to be presented annually, is intended to celebrate Li’s significant contributions to the field of microwaves, lasers and optical communications, and recognize his passion for the future of optics. The Foundation is seeking to raise at least $150,000 USD to permanently endow the award.

“Tingye was that rare combination of pioneering scientist and inspiring mentor,” said G. Michael Morris, chair of The OSA Foundation Board. “One of his favorite sayings was ‘It is by standing on the shoulders of giants that we are able to see further.’ By aiming to establish an award in Tingye’s honor, The OSA Foundation hopes to provide future generations of scientists the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of Tingye—a giant in his own right.”

Li had a long and successful career that began in 1957 at Bell Telephone Laboratories (later AT&T Bell Laboratories), where he worked for 41 years until his retirement in 1998. While there, Li authored and coauthored more than 100 journal papers, patents and books in the areas of antennas, microwave propagation, lasers and optical communications. He made significant contributions in the fields of lightwave technologies and systems, and he spearheaded research on wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) transmission systems that revolutionized long-distance telecommunication networks.

An OSA Member since 1966, Li was named an OSA Fellow in 1977. He served as an at-large member of the OSA Board of Directors from 1985-1987, as OSA President in 1995, chaired numerous committees and was a leader in building the OSA-co-sponsored Asia Communications and Photonics (ACP) conference.

Li was respected and loved as an “elder” among young scientists and engineers in the field of photonics, both for his immeasurable contributions and for his willingness to spend time mentoring, advising, promoting and encouraging young people.

Funding for the Tingye Li Innovation Award
Funding for the Tingye Li Innovation Award is supported through donations from generous individuals and organizations. Contributions help fund an annual award that will recognize top-performing young professionals in the field of optical communications. Donations to the Tingye Li Innovation Award are accepted at

About The OSA Foundation
The OSA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation established by The Optical Society (OSA) in 2002 to carry out charitable activities that support OSA’s mission of promoting the generation, application, archiving and worldwide dissemination of knowledge in optics and photonics. The foundation helps cultivate the next generation of leaders and innovators in the optics and photonics community as they move through advanced degree programs and become active members of research and engineering communities around the globe. The foundation also works to secure OSA Awards and Honors program endowments. To date, The OSA Foundation has awarded more than 800 grants, scholarships, and prizes benefiting thousands of individuals in more than 55 countries. For more information, visit
Image for keeping the session alive