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Optical Society to Celebrate Centennial with Talks, Videos, Publications

The Optical Society (OSA) will mark its 100th anniversary this year with public lectures, celebrations and publications emphasizing light-based technologies.

Ray Kurzweil, a leading futurist, director of engineering at Google and a trustee of the MIT Corp., as well as theoretical physicist and writer Michio Kaku, will appear at OSA meetings as part of its "Light the Future" speaker series. The organization said it will invite visionaries, futurists, Nobel Prize winners and others in the optics and photonics fields to join the series throughout the year.

Meanwhile, a series of videos hosted at features OSA members, including Nobel laureate Eric Betzig, describing their work and recounting what got them interested in optics. New videos will be added throughout the year.

Other initiatives to mark the centennial include a quarterly booklet series in the society's Optics & Photonics News magazine, two commemorative books and a portion of the OSA website dedicated to 100 images representing the organization and key developments in optics and photonics.

"The Optical Society was created 100 years ago in an environment where scientific collaboration was a challenge," said OSA CEO Elizabeth Rogan. "Our founders saw the need to bring together the best scientific minds in industry and academia to share ideas in pursuit of technological breakthroughs. Today, The Optical Society serves as a global catalyst for the science of light. Many scientific and engineering advancements have been achieved by the 270,000 scientists, students and business leaders who make invaluable contributions to our society."

"The centennial is not only an opportunity to capture the legacy of the society and the optics field, but also a chance to explore the future of these exciting technologies," said OSA President Alan E. Willner, a professor at the University of Southern California. "In the years ahead, the field of optics has tremendous potential to address challenges such as supporting health and medicine, as well as the continued exponential growth of the Internet."

OSA's Centennial Advisory Panel is chaired by Chris Dainty, a professorial research associate at University College London's Institute of Ophthalmology.

The Optical Society is a professional organization for scientists, engineers, students working with light-based technologies. It hosts several annual conferences and exhibitions around the world, including CLEO (the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics), FiO (Frontiers in Optics) and the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition (OFC).

The organization also publishes nine scholarly journals including Applied Optics, which first appeared in 1962, and Optica, which was launched last year.

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