News from the Society

Chang Pivoting Fellowship / 2021 Honorary Member / Amplify Scholarship / Optica Fellow stories / Diversity and inclusion awards / An Emmy for Fossum / RAE induction for Riza / Gapontsev remembered / Bayvel receives Young Medal / Jagadish named AAS president / Thank you, editors and volunteers

Madison Rilling photo

Madison Rilling.

2021 Chang Pivoting Fellowship

The Optica Foundation named the 2021 Milton & Rosalind Chang Pivoting Fellow: Madison Rilling, Optonique, Canada (Québec’s Photonics Cluster). Rilling was selected for focus on bringing science, industry and government together to address significant challenges, including climate change and healthcare.

The Chang Pivoting Fellowship ( provides unrestricted funding to talented early-career optical scientists and engineers who believe their expertise can improve society outside of the lab. 2009 Optica President Thomas Baer, a member of the Pivoting Fellowship selection committee, said the committee was impressed by Rilling’s “proposed multidisciplinary approaches to solving societal problems,” taking advantage of “her extensive background in medical optics and photonics.”

Rilling said, “I want optical scientists around the world to know the value of their training and expertise in and outside of the lab, and I will leverage my privilege as a Pivoting Fellow towards making this happen.”

Joseph H. Eberly photo

Joseph H. Eberly.

Eberly Is 2021 Honorary Member

Optica is pleased to report that Joseph H. Eberly—Andrew Carnegie Professor of Physics in the School of Arts and Sciences and a professor of optics in the Institute of Optics, University of Rochester, USA—has been named the society’s 2021 Honorary Member. Honorary Membership is the most distinguished of all Optica member categories and is awarded to individuals who have made seminal contributions to the field of optics.

Eberly is being recognized “for his pioneering contributions to the foundations of quantum optics theory, his dedicated service to the optics community, and his visionary leadership in promoting international cooperation in optics research.” Read more at

Photo of scientist

Getty Images

Amplify Scholarship for Black Scientists

The Optica Foundation announces a new opportunity for Black scientists and engineers: The Amplify Scholarship. This program provides visibility, community and resources for 10 Black scientists annually via financial support of US$7,500. Additionally, awardees will receive professional-development resources from the society, including student membership and mentorship.

This program was developed by the 2016–20 Optica Ambassadors in response to the lack of Black representation in optics and photonics. The scholarship is awarded based on need, academic performance and demonstrated potential. For more information, visit

Salah Obayya photo

Courtesy of Salah Obayya

Optica Fellow Stories

2020 Fellow Salah Obayya believes his most important role is as a mentor. He shares that mentoring has “granted [him] a richness of experiences and skills,” allowing him to get as much out of these relationships as his mentees. His main piece of advice to young scientists is, “Read!” Learn more about Salah and other Optica Fellows at

Photo of Fujitsu and ICFO

Recognizing Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

Optica is pleased to present the winners of the 2021 Optica Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy Recognition: Fujitsu Network Communications, USA, and ICFO–The Institute of Photonic Sciences, Spain. The recognition honors the steadfast commitment and achievements of Optica members, companies or institutions that proactively work to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive optics and photonics community.

Fujitsu is recognized “for their investment in programs and initiatives celebrating and advancing Black, LGBTQ+ and women employees in pursuit of greater inclusion and equality within their company and the wider community.” ICFO is cited “for their deliberate and intentional work to integrate equitable, transparent and inclusive policies and programs throughout their institution’s hiring, mentoring and technical programming.” To read more about the program, visit

Eric Fossum photo

Eric Fossum [M. Washburn/Dartmouth Engineering; statue courtesy of ATAS/NATAS]

Fossum Snags an Emmy Award

Congratulations to Optica Fellow Eric Fossum, Dartmouth College, USA, on his receipt of a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS). Fossum was honored for inventing and pioneering the intra-pixel charge transfer CMOS image sensor. The award was presented in a ceremony on 4 November.

The Technology & Engineering Emmys are given to individuals, companies or organizations that have made a significant impact on the transmission, recording or reception of television. Fossum, who originally created the intra-pixel charge transfer CMOS image sensor for interplanetary spacecraft travel decades ago, had no idea at that time that his invention would have such a broad impact. “I might be most proud of the role my technology has played in the support of social justice in the past few years,” he says.

Nabeel A. Riza photo

Nabeel A. Riza.

RAE Induction for Nabeel Riza

Optica Fellow Nabeel A. Riza, chair professor of electrical and electronic engineering, University College Cork, Ireland, was inducted into the UK Royal Academy of Engineering. Induction to the academy is a prestigious UK honor awarded to high-impact engineering professionals. Riza was elected as a global prize-winning inventor of light-based technologies, including the invention of an all-digital fault-tolerant fiber optic equalizer deployed in the global internet. The induction ceremony was held on 11 October in London.

Valentin Gapontsev photo

Valentin Gapontsev.

Remembering Valentin Gapontsev

Optica and the scientific community mourn the loss of Optica Fellow Valentin Gapontsev, the founder, chairman and former CEO of IPG Photonics, who passed away on 22 October at the age of 82. Gapontsev was known as a pioneer in the field of laser physics and technology, and was admired for his strategic vision and business acumen, which led to the commercialization of the fiber laser industry.

Gapontsev was recognized with numerous awards during his distinguished career, including the Optica Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award (1999). That award recognized his work in creating new optical-fiber laser and amplifier products, his many engineering publications in the field of optical fibers, and his engineering management achievements, evidenced by the founding of IRE-Polus Group.

Gapontsev will be remembered as a brilliant scientist, passionate entrepreneur, mentor and friend. Read more about his life and career at

Photo of Polina Bayvel and Domanic Lavery

Bayvel talks with colleague Domanic Lavery in the ONG lab. [Courtesy of P. Bayvel]

Bayvel Honored with IOP Award

Congratulations to Polina Bayvel, an Optica Fellow and board member, for her receipt of the 2021 Thomas Young Medal from the Institute of Physics (IOP), the leading body for practicing physicists in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The first woman and the first University College London (UCL) academic to receive this prestigious IOP award, Bayvel was tapped for her distinguished contributions to optical communications and for illuminating the physics and mitigation of nonlinear phenomena in optical-fiber transmission.

Bayvel said she was “deeply honored” to receive this recognition, noting that the award’s namesake was “an exceptional polymath, who made major contributions to optics and so many other fields.” She also paid tribute to two mentors, the late Sir Eric Ash and the late John Midwinter, as well as to colleagues and students at her Optical Networks Group (ONG) at UCL.

To learn more about the accomplishments of Bayvel and the history of ONG, read the OPN profile from September 2019, on the occasion of the group’s 25th anniversary:

Chennupati Jagadish photo

Chennupati Jagadish. [B. Cummings, for the Australian Academy of Science]

AAS Gains a New President

The members of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS), the country’s premier science organization, have elected Optica Fellow and Australian National University professor Chennupati Jagadish as the academy’s 20th president. A pioneer in nanotechnology and the 2016 recipient of Optica’s Nick Holonyak Jr. Award for his contributions in quantum well, quantum dot and nanowire optoelectronics, Jagadish will be the first Australian of Indian heritage to lead the AAS.

In an AAS press release, Jagadesh, who came to Australia from his native India in 1990, expressed a sense of amazement at this latest step in his professional journey. “I never imagined when I came to Australia with a two-month-old baby and two-year contract 31 years ago, that one day I’d be elected a Fellow of the Academy and then go on to lead the organization,” he said.

Jagadish hopes to use the leadership position to “champion the cause of science and scientific excellence” as the world grapples with challenges such as climate change and potential future pandemics. Nurturing the next generation of scientists will also be a top priority, he said. Optica congratulates Jagadish on this new role.

Photo of journal covers

Thank You, Editors

We are happy to announce that the following individuals were recently appointed as new editors: JOSA B—Shuo Sun, University of Colorado at Boulder, USA; Nahid Talebi, Christian Albrechts University and Max Planck Institute, Germany. Optics ExpressChristiane Becker, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, Germany. Optics LettersMaria Chernysheva, Leibniz Institute of Photonics Technology, Germany; Ana Doblas, University of Memphis, USA; Stefani Residori, CNRS, France.

We would like to thank the following editors for agreeing to serve a second term: Applied OpticsOrges Furxhi, Imec USA, USA. JOCN—Thomas Little, Boston University, USA; Derek Nesset, Huawei Technologies, Germany; Marco Ruffini, University of Dublin, Trinity College, Ireland. OpticaDragomir Neshev, The Australian National University, Australia; OSA ContinuumAdonis Bogris, University of West Attica, Greece.

We would like to thank the following editors, who have recently finished their terms, for their years of service: OpticaCurtis Menyuk, University of Maryland Baltimore County, USA (as Deputy Editor). Optics ExpressBoon Ooi, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, Saudi Arabia.

Thank You, Volunteers

Thank you to the Optica Board of Meetings members who concluded their term in December 2021: Daniele Brida, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg; Daniel Smalley, Brigham Young University, USA; and Gerard Wysocki, Princeton, USA.

Caroline Boudoux, Polytechnique Montréal, Canada; Brian Vohnsen, University College Dublin, Ireland; Adam Fleisher, National Inst of Standards & Technology, USA; and Maryna Meretska, Harvard University, USA, will be joining the Board of Meetings as new members.

Continuing members include Abbie T. Watnik, US Naval Research Laboratory, USA (Chair); Jens Biegert, ICFO–The Institute of Photonic Sciences, Spain (Past Chair); Mohand Achouche, III-V Lab, France; Pablo Artal, Universidad de Murcia, Spain; Francesca Calegari, Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron, Germany; Steven T. Cundiff, University of Michigan, USA; Jessica DeGroote Nelson, Optimax Systems Inc, USA; Christine P. Hendon, Columbia University, USA; Pascal Picart, LAUM CNRS Le Mans Université, France; T.C. Poon, Virginia Tech University, USA; Elina A. Vitol, USA; and Winnie N. Ye, Carleton University, Canada.

Publish Date: 01 January 2022

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