Skip To Content

OSA Centennial Snapshots

Like OPN's content? Become an OSA member!

OSA members get access, in print and online, to all OPN content—along with an array of other benefits, networking opportunities and career resources. Learn more at

During OSA's Centennial year, OPN published a series of ten feature articles, OSA Centennial Snapshots, that focus on an event, personality or trend in each decade of OSA's 100-year history. Here's a complete list of the stories.


How the Great War Changed the Optics Industry

The demands of World War I transformed the optical-glass industries of the Allied countries from small-scale, trial-and-error crafts to volume enterprises informed by science.


Broadway Lights Inspire Innovation

Before he dreamed up instant photography, OSA Honorary Member Edwin Land invented the first inexpensive synthetic polarizer. But that was only part of a larger mission.


Global Conflict, Thin Films, and Mary Banning

The brief career of a talented, hands-on optical physicist has much to say about the status of optics, and of women scientists, at midcentury.


New Visions of Movies

Faced with a bust in ticket sales after World War II, Hollywood pulled optics tricks out of its hat to lure moviegoers back into theaters with widescreen and 3-D spectaculars.


The Decade When Everything Changed

With momentum from wartime R&D funds, the optics and photonics scene post-WWII was filled with transformative innovations in optics design, surveillance, fiber optics and, of course, the laser.


Lasers, Lunar Missions and Legacies

Hal Walker Jr.’s journey from the U.S. Navy to NASA to global educator.


Inventing a Dwarf Masterpiece

An international collaboration between two corporate competitors spawned the compact disc—and introduced lasers into millions of homes.


OCT and the Flowering of Biophotonics

From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, government funding and interdisciplinary innovation combined to launch optical coherence tomography—a milestone in biomedical optics.


The Fiber Optic Mania

In the decade from 1996 to 2005, breakthroughs in fiber optics and networking transformed society and laid the groundwork for the global internet. The same decade showed how technological breakthroughs could bring economic turmoil.


Illuminating the New Century

Over the past decade, energy-efficient LED lighting has brightened the world. These bulbs are the Nobel Prize-winning technology you can hold in the palm of your hand.

Publish Date: 26 October 2016

Add a Comment