19 October 2022

Donna Strickland Named Optica Honorary Member

Optica awards the most distinguished of all member categories to Nobel Laureate and 2013 President

WASHINGTON — Optica (formerly OSA), Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, has named Donna Strickland,a legend in the field of pulsed lasers, as an Optica Honorary Member. Strickland is recognized for her major contributions to the Society and to the optics and photonics community through pioneering innovative research, exemplary leadership, and exceptional service as a role model for young scientists and engineers.

"Donna Strickland has been an effective advocate for the importance of the field whether she was meeting with funders, world government leaders or policymakers,” said Satoshi Kawata, Optica’s 2022 President. “It is an honor to recognize such a dedicated and talented member of our community.” 

Honorary Membership is the most distinguished of all Optica Member categories and is awarded by a unanimous vote of the Optica Board of Directors to individuals who have made seminal contributions to the field of optics.Their number is limited to two-thousandths (2/1000) of the total membership of the Society.

Strickland, 2018 Nobel Laureate in Physics and 2013 Optica President, is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo, Canada and leads their ultrafast laser group. She received her B. Eng. degree in engineering physics from McMaster University and her Ph.D. in optics from the University of Rochester. Prior to joining the University of Waterloo, she was a research associate at the National Research Council of Canada, a physicist with the laser division of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a technical staff member of Princeton's Advanced Technology Center for Photonics and Opto-electronic Materials. Earlier this year, the Donna Strickland and Optica Distinguished Professorship in Optics was established at the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics by Optica and the Wyant Optics Challenge Fund to attract, retain and support faculty.

Strickland has been a driving force in high-peak-power lasers and their applications for nearly four decades. Her landmark 1985 paper on chirped pulse amplification (CPA), coauthored with Gerard Mourou, provided the means to increase laser power density a thousand-fold. CPA has been the central technology of high-peak-power lasers ever since. Access to this new regime of laser performance has enabled discoveries in atomic physics, nonlinear optics, laser-driven fusion and engineering advances in manufacturing and medicine. Strickland and Mourou were recognized for the development of CPA with half of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics. Strickland continues to contribute to the development of innovative and impactful laser technologies for spectroscopy, investigations of molecular dynamics and the treatment of far-sightedness. 

Strickland is a dedicated Optica volunteer who has held leadership roles throughout the Society, including Optics Letters topical editor, program co-chair for Frontiers in Optics, member of the Membership Engagement & Development Council, Director-at-Large on the Board of Directors and 2013 Optica President. She currently serves on the Presidential Advisory Committee and the Public Affairs Council.

She is a Fellow of Optica, the Royal Society of Canada and SPIE and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Physics (UK) and the Canadian Academy of Engineering. She was elected as an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow and is the recipient of a Premier’s Research Excellence Award, a Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement, and a U.S. Golden Goose Award.

About Optica

Optica (formerly OSA), 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: Optica.org

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