Obituaries

Optica mourns the passing of these distinguished colleagues.

John E. Midwinter, 1938-2021

November 18, 2021

John E. Midwinter, a pioneer in fiber optic communications and Fellow of the Royal Society, has passed away at the age of 83. Midwinter was a Professor Emeritus at the University College of London and served as Vice Provost from 1994-1999. He was known for his research on single-mode fibers at British Telecom Research Laboratories, which led to his landmark work showing that single-mode fibers ...

Valentin Gapontsev, 1939-2021

October 22, 2021

Valentin Gapontsev, Optica (formerly OSA) Fellow and founder, chairman, and former CEO of IPG Photonics (IPG), passed away on 22 October at the age of 82. Gapontsev was known as a pioneer in the field of laser physics and technology and was admired for his strategic vision and business acumen that led to the commercialization of the fiber laser industry. Under his leadership, IPG became a verti...

Jane M. Simmons, 1963-2021

August 25, 2021

 With the untimely passing of Jane Marie Simmons on 25 August 2021, the optical networking community lost a giant. She worked in this field for almost three decades with unbounded energy and unmatched enthusiasm. She advanced and nurtured the field as a visionary researcher, pragmatic practitioner, and inspiring teacher. She left a legacy that will not be forgotten.Jane started her work on...

H. Angus Macleod, 1934-2021

April 29, 2021

H. Angus MacLeod, OSA Fellow and recipient of the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal, passed away on 29 April 2021, at the age of 87. Macleod was a renowned researcher, having made significant contributions in the area of thin film optical filters and optical coatings. He was best known for Thin-Film Optical Filters, an introduction to thin-film optical filters for both manufacturers and users, now in...

Isamu Akasaki, 1929-2021

April 01, 2021

Isamu Akasaki, Nobel Laureate and Professor Emeritus at Nagoya University, passed away on 1 April 2021 at the age of 92. Akasaki was a brilliant researcher who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2014 for his contributions to the development of blue light-emitting diodes, which led to the production of LEDs. Akasaki shared the Nobel Prize with Hiroshio Amano of Japan and Shuji Nakamura of th...

Martin Shenker, 1929-2021

March 31, 2021

Martin Shenker, OSA Fellow and OSA Emeritus Member, passed away on 31 March at the age of 92. Shenker had an extensive career in optical systems design and held several patents related to his research. Shenker was made an OSA Fellow in 1978. He was known for his work on the simulators of the Lunar Excursion Module, the optics used in night vision devices, and was considered a pioneer in the dev...

Kuo-Nan Liou, 1944-2021

March 20, 2021

Kuo-Nan Liou, OSA Fellow and Founding Director of the Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science & Engineering (JIFRESSE) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), passed away on 20 March 2021 at the age of 77.  Liou was known for his pioneering work in atmospheric sciences and was a Distinguished Professor in the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UCLA. Liou was rec...

F. Tito Arecchi V, 1933-2021

February 15, 2021

F. Tito Arecchi V, OSA Fellow and recipient of the Max Born Award, passed away on 15 February 2021 at the age of 87. Arecchi was known for his research in the cooperative effects in quantum optics, photon statistics and laser fluctuations, deterministic chaos in optics, pattern formation in extended media, and complex phenomena and cognitive processes.  He received the Max Born Award in 19...

Amyand David Buckingham CBE, FRS, 1930-2021

February 04, 2021

A. David Buckingham, OSA Fellow and 2001 recipient of the Charles Hard Townes Medal, passed away on 4 February 2021 at the age of 91. Buckingham was formerly a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. He was known for his research in the area of chemical physics and specifically, the measurement and understanding of the electric, magnetic and optical properties of ...

Robert W. Hellwarth, 1930-2021

January 20, 2021

Robert “Bob” W. Hellwarth, OSA Fellow and recipient of the Charles Hard Townes Award, has passed away at the age of 90. Hellwarth was a renowned researcher, having made significant contributions in the area of nonlinear optical devices. He was best known for inventing and demonstrating "Q-switching," a contribution that led to the field of high-power lasers. Hellwarth&rsqu...

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