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14 December 2022

U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson Named Advocate of Optics

Optica recognizes Johnson for her long-time support of science and the National Quantum Initiative

WASHINGTON — Optica (formerly OSA), Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, is pleased to announce Eddie Bernice Johnson, United States House of Representatives member, as the latest Advocate of Optics. Johnson has consistently supported legislation meant to advance science and optics during her nearly 30-year tenure serving in the U.S. Congress. She has served as the chairwoman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, supporting the passage of the National Quantum Initiative Act and the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act, among other legislation supporting science in the United States.

The Optica Advocate of Optics recognition is typically presented yearly to a public official who demonstrates leadership in support of the advancement of light science.

“Optica’s Public Affairs Council was pleased to recognize Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson.  She has been a stalwart supporter of science, STEM education and scientific R&D since being sworn into office,” said Diane Wong, chair of Optica’s Public Affairs Council. “As Representative Johnson prepares to retire from the House of Representatives, we want to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude for the lasting contributions that she has made to the optics and photonics community.”

Johnson, who represents Texas’s 30th congressional district, was elected in 1992, becoming the first registered nurse elected to Congress. She announced in 2019 her intention to retire in 2022. She is the first woman and first African American to serve as the chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Johnson has sponsored many bills aimed explicitly at advancing U.S. scientific research and education, including the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act. In 2018, she introduced the National Quantum Initiative Act to accelerate and coordinate quantum science research. She expressed her belief in the future of quantum in a 2018 statement: “Advancements in the field of quantum information science promise to revolutionize the way we solve society’s most pressing problems.”

Johnson was nominated for the Advocate of Optics Recognition in 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, her award presentation was postponed to 2022. She joins other esteemed government officials from around the world who have received this recognition for their continued support of optics worldwide.

About the Advocate of Optics Recognition

The Optica Advocate of Optics is an annual recognition by the Optica Public Affairs Council. For each calendar year, the council evaluates and selects an outstanding public official from any country who demonstrates leadership and support for the advancement of optics and photonics. The recipient is evaluated on criteria such as his/her enthusiasm for science and science policy, level of familiarity with optics and photonics, level of interaction with Optica and our members in the past year and record of consistent support of science, optics and photonics. One or more recipients may be chosen in any year.

About Optica

Optica, Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, is the society dedicated to promoting the generation, application, archiving and dissemination of knowledge in the field. Founded in 1916, it is the leading organization for scientists, engineers, business professionals, students and others interested in the science of light. Optica's renowned publications, meetings, online resources and in-person activities fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate scientific, technical and educational achievement. Discover more at:

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