News Release

Optica names 17 recipients for 2023 awards and medals

Grant and Award Announcement


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Credit: Optica

WASHINGTON — Optica (formerly OSA), Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, is pleased to announce the recipients of several of its 2023  awards and medals. These awards celebrate those in our field who are making significant technical, research, education, business, leadership and service accomplishments.

"On behalf of the Optica Board and membership, I congratulate the 2023 Awardees for their innovative and pioneering contributions to our field and Society," said Michal Lipson, Optica's 2023 President. "I would also like to thank those who nominated candidates, submitted references and served on  selection committees—your service and support of this program is valued and appreciated."

 The 2023 recipients are:

Esther Hoffman Beller Medal

Harold Metcalf, Stony Brook University, USA    

For outstanding mentorship of undergraduate students in hands-on optics research and for organizing an annual symposium for students to present their work during the FiO/LS conference

Max Born Award

Marin Soljacic, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA      

For seminal contributions to the fields of plasmonics, electromagnetism, and topological photonics

Stephen D. Fantone Distinguished Service Award      

Alexander L. GaetaColumbia University, USA
For his role as founding editor-in chief of Optica and his commitment to excellence in the optics and photonics community

Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award              

Brian T. CunninghamUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

For innovative and transformative research in optical sensing, spectroscopy, and microscopy as well as leadership and entrepreneurship in technology development of photonic crystal biosensors

Joseph Fraunhofer Award/Robert M. Burley Prize

Xiaoyi BaoUniversity of Ottawa, Canada          

For seminal contributions to optical fiber-based systems ranging from telecom testing protocols and instruments, to pioneering work on distributed sensor instrumentation for infrastructure monitoring, to multi-parameter sensing probes for medical imaging

Nick Holonyak Jr. Award

Yeshaiahu Fainman, University of California San Diego, USA                          

For pioneering contributions to nanoscale science and engineering of ultra-small, sub-micrometer semiconductor light emitters and nanolasers for information processing systems applications

Robert E. Hopkins Leadership Award

Vanderlei Salvador Bagnato, University of São Paulo -  Instituto de Fisica de Sao Carlos, Brazil

For outstanding contributions to the global impact of optics and photonics and for promoting the field to the general public world-wide

Emmett N. Leith Medal                

David Jones Brady, University of Arizona, USA

For the invention of sparse holography

Ellis R. Lippincott Award             

Peter R. Griffiths, University of Idaho, USA

For unique achievements and significant contributions to vibrational spectroscopy

Adolph Lomb Medal

William Renninger, University of Rochester, USA            

For pioneering contributions to opto-mechanics, ultrashort pulse generation, novel fiber lasers, and multimode nonlinear optics   

C.E.K. Mees Medal

Scott DiddamsUniversity of Colorado at Boulder, USA

For pioneering innovations leading to the wide-ranging application of optical frequency combs to ultrafast lasers, optical clocks, spectroscopy, microwave synthesis, and astronomy

William F. Meggers Award

Stephan SchlemmerUniversität zu Köln, Germany       

For pioneering ultra-sensitive action spectroscopy with fundamental applications to spectra of molecular ions, particularly CH5+, and their key roles in astrochemistry

David Richardson Medal             

Turan ErdoganPlymouth Grating Laboratory, Inc., USA

For numerous contributions to the commercial development of optical components and technologies through remarkable entrepreneurship and business acumen leading to products and applications in numerous areas including optical fiber systems, medical optics, and femtosecond laser technology

Kevin P. Thompson Optical Design Innovator Award

Dr. Eric M. Schiesser, PhD, Synopsys Inc., Optical Solutions Group, USA

For innovation and rigor in optical design methodology                          

Edgar D. Tillyer Award                 

Andrew WatsonApple Inc., USA   

For pioneering the application of computational approaches to understand foundational aspects of spatial and temporal vision as well as motion perception and their influential application in the field of image quality                          

Charles Hard Townes Medal

Andrew WeinerPurdue University, USA             

For ground-breaking work bringing optical frequency combs to the quantum world and developing innovative applications spanning several fields, including coherent control, generation and line-by-line manipulation of frequency combs, and ultrabroadband radio-frequency photonics                       

R. W. Wood Prize

Alexandra BoltassevaPurdue University, USA                 

For groundbreaking contributions to the materials aspects of metamaterials, plasmonics, and nanophotonics  

About Optica

Optica (formerly OSA), Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, is the society dedicated to promoting the generation, application, archiving and dissemination of knowledge in the field. Founded in 1916, it is the leading organization for scientists, engineers, business professionals, students and others interested in the science of light. Optica’s renowned publications, meetings, online resources and in-person activities fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate scientific, technical and educational achievement. Discover more at:

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