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Campaign Begins to Endow Award Honoring Tingye Li

The OSA Foundation is launching a fundraising campaign to endow an award for recognizing young optics researchers, in honor of the late optical communications pioneer Tingye Li.

The annual Tingye Li Innovation Award will acknowledge top-performing young professionals who present innovative research at the annual OFC Conference and Exposition, the foundation said. The award is intended to celebrate Li's significant contributions to the field of microwaves, lasers and optical communications, and to recognize his passion for the future of optics. The foundation wants to raise at least $150,000 to permanently endow the award.

Li, who passed away in December 2012, was a past president and Fellow emeritus of The Optical Society (OSA) and was well known for his contributions to lightwave technology and optical fiber communications.

"Tingye was that rare combination of pioneering scientist and inspiring mentor," said G. Michael Morris, chair of The OSA Foundation Board. "One of his favorite sayings was, ‘It is by standing on the shoulders of giants that we are able to see further.’ By aiming to establish an award in Tingye's honor, The OSA Foundation hopes to provide future generations of scientists the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of Tingye — a giant in his own right."

Li had a long and successful career that began in 1957 at Bell Telephone Laboratories (later AT&T Bell Laboratories), where he worked for 41 years until his retirement in 1998. While there, Li authored and co-authored more than 100 journal papers, patents and books in the areas of antennas, microwave propagation, lasers and optical communications. He made significant contributions in the fields of lightwave technologies and systems, and spearheaded research on wavelength division multiplexing transmission systems that revolutionized long-distance telecommunication networks.

An OSA member since 1966, Li was named an OSA Fellow in 1977. He served as OSA president in 1995, chaired numerous committees and was a leader in building the OSA-co-sponsored Asia Communications and Photonics (ACP) conference.

Li was respected and loved as an "elder" among young scientists and engineers in the field of photonics, both for his immeasurable contributions and for his willingness to spend time mentoring, advising, promoting and encouraging young people, the foundation said.

Donations to the Tingye Li Innovation Award can be made at 

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