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Award Named for South Korea’s Optics Trailblazer

WASHINGTON, Nov. 28, 2012 — A new award established by The Optical Society (OSA) and The Optical Society of Korea (OSK) in honor of Sang Soo Lee, considered the "Father of Optics" in South Korea, will recognize individuals who have established or fostered optics and photonics in their own communities, the societies announced Tuesday.

The Sang Soo Lee Award, to be presented biennially beginning in 2014, will recognize those who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in founding or growing the optics and photonics community at a local or regional level. It will honor notable individuals who have played a key role in a specific region, through research and/or education in optics or photonics, by introducing a new field of study within optics or photonics, or initiating an optics and photonics industry, the societies say.

“The Lee award allows us to recognize individuals anywhere in the world who have made major contributions to optics and photonics by advancing our field at the local level,” said OSA President Tony Heinz.

Lee, who died in 2010, laid the foundation for optical science and engineering in South Korea, the societies say. With a career spanning more than four decades, Lee was active as an educator, researcher and author. He played a central role in establishing OSK in 1989 and served as its first president. He also served as the first president of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), the country’s first graduate school specializing in science and engineering research and education.

“Profesor Lee is well-known for his leading role in bringing optics and photonics to Korea,” said OSK President Tae-Hoon Yoon. “His extraordinary efforts deserve to be commemorated through this award. We look forward to honoring a diverse range of professionals around the world for many years to come.”

Nominations will be solicited from the global optics and photonics community starting in 2013. The award is endowed by OSK, the OSA Foundation and Lee's family; the OSA Foundation is currently fundraising to establish a permanent endowment.

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