News Release

David J. Wineland and Amnon Yariv Named 2017 Honorary Members of The Optical Society

Wineland and Yariv receive recognition in the most distinguished OSA Member category for their unique, influential contributions to the field of optics

Grant and Award Announcement


New OSA Honorary Members

image: David Wineland (left) and Amnon Yariv (right) were recently elected as the 2017 Honorary Members of The Optical Society. view more 

Credit: OSA

WASHINGTON -- The Optical Society (OSA) is pleased to name the recently elected, 2017 Honorary Members. The recipients are David Jeffrey Wineland, 2012 Physics Nobel Laureate, University of Oregon, USA, and Amnon Yariv, California Institute of Technology (CalTech), USA. The 2017 Honorable Members were approved unanimously by the OSA Board of Directors. Honorary Membership is the most distinguished of all OSA Member categories and is awarded to individuals who have made unique, seminal contributions to the field of optics.

David J. Wineland was elected for pioneering advances in laser cooling of ions together with unprecedented control of individual ions in foundational experiments of quantum optics and quantum information. His work has included advances in optics, specifically laser cooling trapped ions and using ions for quantum computing operations.

Wineland was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics. He received his bachelor's degree in physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1965 and his master's and doctoral degrees in physics from Harvard University. He completed his PhD in 1970, he then performed Postdoctoral Research in Hans Dehmelt's group at the University of Washington where he investigated electrons in ion traps. In 1975, he join the National Bureau of Standards (NIST), where he started the ion storage group. Wineland was the first to laser cool ions in 1978. In 1995 he created the first single atom quantum logic gate and was the first to quantum teleport information in massive particles in 2004. One year later in 2005, Wineland implemented the most precise atomic clock using quantum logic on a single aluminum ion. Wineland is also the recipient of these OSA awards, the William F. Meggers Award (1990), the Herbert Walther Award (co-sponsored with with Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft), and the Society's highest honor, the Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus W. Quinn Prize (2004).

Amon Yariv was elected for pioneering scientific and engineering contributions to photonics and quantum electronics that have profoundly impacted lightwave communications and the field of optics as a whole. His research has focused on creating the mathematical tools and building blocks underpinning guided wave optics, the backbone of today's optoelectronic technologies. This endeavor led to the proposal and demonstration of the distributed feedback laser -- the main light source and information carrier of internet traffic -- and started the field of optoelectronic integrated circuits.

Yariv received his bachelors (1954), masters (1956) and PhD (1958) in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, USA. His work earned him a National Medal of Science, awarded by President Barack Obama in 2010. Present research in his group is centered on exploring, theoretically and experimentally, the quantum limits of coherence in lasers and applying the results to a range of new applications which include radar?like frequency?swept 3?D imagers and new lasers for phase?coherent optical communication. Yariv received the OSA Esther Hoffman Beller Medal (1998) and the Society's highest honor, the Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus W. Quinn Prize (1986).


About OSA Honorary Membership

The number of living Honorary Members cannot exceed two-thousandths (2/1,000) of the total OSA Membership. Usually, only one honorary member is selected per calendar year, this year marks an extraordinary circumstance where two exceptional candidates were chosen due to their outstanding accomplishments in the field of optics. Honorary Members receive a complimentary OSA lifetime membership and other special recognitions of their distinguished status, including complimentary OSA meeting registrations and member subscriptions to all OSA journals of their choice.

About The Optical Society

Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and entrepreneurs who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit:

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