WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 -- Despite the backing of both organizations' boards of directors, the Optical Society of America's membership has voted not to merge with the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE). Of the 4971 votes cast by OSA members at their annual meeting, 2420 approved the proposed merger while 2551 were opposed. A two-thirds majority was needed before the merger could proceed. While the results of a vote by the SPIE membership were expected to be announced October 5, the OSA decision makes the results moot, as the unification process required a favorable vote by both societies. The members have spoken. In their view, a merger of OSA with SPIE is not in the best interests of the Society at this time, said Tony Siegman, president of OSA. We still, however, are committed to continuing our proud, OSA tradition of highly acclaimed, peer-reviewed publications, important international conferences, exhibits and topical meetings, and well-respected awards, he continued. Erich Ippen, OSA president-elect, stated, The OSA has always enjoyed a well-deserved reputation for excellence in the field of optical science and engineering. This vote will allow OSA to build upon that reputation as an independent, international leader representing the optics and photonics community.