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In Memoriam: Andrew M Weiner, 1958 - 2024

Feb 13, 2024

Andrew Weiner, Optica Fellow, former Editor in Chief of Optics Express, and recipient of the RW Wood Prize passed away on 13 February 2024 at the age of 65. He was an active volunteer for Optica and the optics and photonics community, having served in leadership roles in publications, conferences, and governance. Weiner was most known for his work in ultrafast optics, high-speed fiber communications, and pioneering programmable pulse shaping.

Weiner was born on 25 July 1958 in Boston, Massachusetts. He received his Bachelor, Master, and doctorate degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1979, 1981, and 1984, respectively. After receiving his doctorate in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Weiner joined Bellcore as a member of its technical staff and later as Manager of Ultrafast Optics and Optical Signal Processing Research. By 1992, he joined Purdue University and was the Scifres Family Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Under his mentorship, he graduated 48 PhD students.

Weiner was the author of Ultrafast Optics, published in 2008, which gives a comprehensive and detailed account of ultrafast optics, beginning with a summary of ultrafast laser pulses, background information on the Fourier series and Fourier transforms, and more. He published more than eleven book chapters, over one thousand journal and conference papers, and had 18 US patents to his name.

Weiner received numerous awards for his contributions. He was elected a Fellow of Optica in 1990 and, in the same year, received the Adolph Lomb Medal for pioneering contributions to the femtosecond optical pulse shaping technique and its application to nonlinear optics, ultrafast, spectroscopy, and optical communications. In 2008, he received the RW Wood Prize for pioneering contributions to the development of programmable optical pulse shaping and its applications to ultrafast optics and photonics. In 2009, he received the US Department of Defense National Security Science and Engineering Fellowship (today, the Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship). Purdue University awarded him the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Graduate Mentor and the College of Engineering Mentorship Award in 2008 and 2014, respectively.

An engaged volunteer, Weiner served and chaired numerous committees and conferences. Since 1991, he has taken roles in the Frontiers in Optics Program Committee, Chair of the Adolph Lomb Medal Committee, the Photonics Switching and Computing Program Committee, Chair of the CLEO S&I Program Committee, the John Tyndall Award Committee, Chair of the Ultrafast Phenomena Program Committee, Chair of the Joint Council on Quantum Electronics, Editor-in-Chief of Optics Express, and as a member of the Optica Board of Editors (2013-2018).

Beyond his academic pursuits, Weiner took an interest in martial arts and held a black belt rank in Akido and Judo.

Optica, his students, and the scientific community mourn his loss.

Awards & Distinctions

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