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The Optical Society

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The Optical Society (originally established as The Optical Society of America, OSA) is a scientific society dedicated to advancing the study of lightoptics and photonics—in theory and application, by means of publishing, organizing conferences and exhibitions, partnership with industry, and education. The organization has members in more than 100 countries.[4] As of 2018, the OSA had over 21,000 individual members and more than 265 corporate member companies.[5]

The Optical Society
Optical Society logo.svg
FounderPerley G. Nutting
TypeProfessional association
FocusOptics and photonics
  • Washington, DC, United States
Area served
MethodProfessional journals and conferences
Key people



OSA was founded in 1916, under the leadership of Perley G. Nutting,[6] with 30 optical scientists and instrument makers based in Rochester, New York. OSA soon began publication of its first journal of research results and established an annual meeting.[7] It was founded as the "Optical Society of America" and has evolved into a global enterprise with a worldwide constituency. In recognition of this, the society was renamed in 2008 as The Optical Society (OSA).[8]


The mission of the Optical Society is to promote the generation, dissemination, application, and archiving of knowledge in optics and photonics. The purposes of the Society are scientific, technical, and educational.

Scientific publishingEdit

Scientific publishing is a core activity of the society, consisting of 17 flagship, partnered and co-published peer-reviewed journals and 1 magazine. With more than 280,000 articles,[9] including papers from over 470 conferences, the OSA Publishing platform is the second largest collection of conference and peer-reviewed optics and photonics content.[10]

Primary journalsEdit

  • Advances in Optics and Photonics, ISSN 1943-8206; 2009–Present - Publishing long review articles and tutorials.
  • Applied Optics, ISSN 1559-128X (print); ISSN 2155-3165 (online); 1962–Present - Covering optical applications-centered research.
  • Biomedical Optics Express, ISSN 2156-7085; 2010–Present - An open access journal covering optics, photonics and imaging in the life sciences.
  • Journal of the Optical Society of America, 1917–1983,[11] which was split into two journals in 1984:
  • Optica, ISSN 2334-2536; 2014–Present - Rapid dissemination of high-impact results in all areas of optics and photonics.[12]
  • Optical Materials Express, ISSN 2159-3930; 2011–Present - An open access journal covering advances in novel optical materials, their properties, modeling, synthesis and fabrication techniques.
  • Optics Express, ISSN 1094-4087; 1997–Present - An open access journal covering all areas of optics.
  • Optics Letters, ISSN 0146-9592 (print); ISSN 1539-4794 (online); 1977–Present - Providing rapid publication of short papers in all fields of optical science and technology.

Partnered journalsEdit

  • Applied Spectroscopy, 1951–present. Published by the Society for Applied Spectroscopy.
  • Chinese Optics Letters, 2003–present. Published by Chinese Laser Press.
  • Journal of Optical Communications and Networking, 2009–present. Jointly published by OSA and IEEE. Published from 2002-2009 as Journal of Optical Networking.
  • Journal of Display Technology, 2005–2016. Jointly published by OSA and IEEE.
  • Journal of Lightwave Technology, 1998–present. Jointly published by OSA and IEEE.
  • Journal of Optical Technology, 1999–present. English translation of Opticheskii Zhurnal published by the S. I. Vavilov State Optical Institute.
  • Journal of Optical Society of Korea, 2007–present. Published by the Optical Society of Korea.
  • Photonics Research, 2013–present. Jointly published by OSA and Chinese Laser Press.


Optics and Photonics News, 1975–present. Distributed to all members.


The Optical Society presents awards and honors, including OSA Fellow, Honorary Membership, and Awards/Medals. OSA's awards and medals program is endowed through the OSA Foundation (OSAF), and includes more than 20 named awards; among them are the following:

Conferences and exhibitionsEdit

OSA sponsors small and large meetings consisting of a technical program and an industrial exhibition appropriate to the subject matter and number of attendees. Large conferences often include professional education courses and workshops addressing the state of emerging technology and industry. The OSA Executive Speaker Series presents luminaries from industry in an informal studio setting to discuss their career paths. Past executives include Coherent CEO John Ambroso and American Elements CEO Michael Silver.[14]

Local sections and student chaptersEdit

OSA local sections and student chapters are encouraged and supported by the umbrella organization but operate independently. Their activities may include guest speakers, educational outreach, and content from other scientific societies. In 2015, 22 local sections (13 in the U.S. and 9 non-U.S.[15])and more than 360 student chapters (88 in the U.S. and 272 non-U.S.) that were affiliated with OSA.[16]

OSA FoundationEdit

The OSA Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting programs that:

  • Advance youth science education
  • Provide optics education and resources to underserved populations
  • Offer career and professional development resources
  • Award, honor and recognize technical and business excellence

Since its establishment in 2002, the Foundation has provided funding for over 350 programs and awarded 825+ grants and prizes in more than 55 countries. Funded activities include: student travel grants, special resources for university students studying optics, scholarships and classroom and extracurricular youth science education programs.[17]

OSA presidentsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Professor Ian Walmsley becomes President of the Optical Society". Retrieved 12 Feb 2018.
  2. ^ "Eric Mazur elected to leadership of Optical Society". Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  3. ^ "OPTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA INC". ProPublica. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  4. ^ Colleen Morrison, "Societies: the Optical Society of America," The Industrial Physicist, Dec. 2003/Jan. 2004, pp. 29-30.
  5. ^ "OSA Membership". Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  6. ^ Observers, Illuminants, Light Sources for Color Difference Calculations, William Reginald Dawes
  7. ^ "Why 1916? A Look Back at OSA's Roots.", files of W. Lewis Hyde, Optics & Photonics News, Vol. 17, No. 1, Jan. 2006, pp. 18-19.
  8. ^ "A Century of Light". Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  9. ^ "The Optical Society Launches New Publishing Platform to Enhance Ease of Use, Search and Discoverability of Content". Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  10. ^ "About OSA Publishing".
  11. ^ "JOSA". Optics InfoBase. Retrieved 2011-06-09.
  12. ^ "The Optical Society Launches Optica, New Open-Access Journal for Highest-Impact Research in the Science of Light". The Optical Society. 2014-07-22.
  13. ^ "Awards & Grants". The Optical Society. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  14. ^ OSA Executive Speaker Series, The Optical Society
  15. ^ "OSA Local Sections". Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  16. ^ "OSA Student Services". Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  17. ^ The OSA Foundation, OSA Foundation. Washington, DC, 2010.

External linksEdit