The Optical Society Announces Centennial “Light the Future” Speaker Series

Visionaries Will Discuss the Next 100 Years of Optics and Photonics Innovations

WASHINGTON--()--The Optical Society (OSA) celebrates its 100th anniversary with the Light the Future speaker series at eight international events in 2016. The events are open to conference attendees, invited guests and the local community. The program features visionaries, futurists and Nobel Prize winners who will provide an opportunity to look forward to optics and photonics innovations. The series begins on Tuesday, 9 February at OSA’s Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.

Imagine self-driving cars, 3D printing and a billion pixel camera. Just 20, 50, 100 years ago these inventions were unthinkable. Today, researchers and industry leaders around the globe are perfecting innovations that once were the realm of science fiction. Offering a glimpse into the future of light, the series will highlight how science affects our lives every day and will help communicate to all audiences the importance of supporting scientific research and discovery.

“Science is the art of constant progress. We ask new questions and seek new answers. The seminal moments of great breakthroughs are iconic – the invention of the laser, the debut of the Polaroid camera at an OSA meeting in 1947, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity,” said Elizabeth Rogan, CEO of The Optical Society. “The Light the Future series hosts thought leaders and noted luminaries in the field who will provide insight into the next century of the innovation for the science of light.”

The series will be a program element at these eight international meetings:

9 February:


Ira Flatow, broadcast journalist and host of Science Friday

The Optical Society Centennial Leadership Conference and Celebration
Washington, DC, USA (invitation only)
23 March:

Mary Lou Jepsen, executive director of engineering, Facebook, with Alan Willner, 2016 OSA President and OSA Fellow

OFC Conference & Exhibition
Anaheim, California, USA
8 June:

Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering, Google, with Steven Chu, Nobel Laureate, former U.S. Secretary of Energy and OSA Fellow

CLEO 2016

San Jose, California, USA
26 July:

Joseph Izatt, professor of Biophotonics, Duke University, and OSA Fellow

Imaging & Applied Optics Congress
Heidelberg, Germany
23 August: Speaker TBA
Latin American Optics and Photonics Conference (LAOP)
Medellín, Colombia
20 October:

Michio Kaku, futurist and theoretical physicist, City College of New York, with Sir Peter L. Knight, emeritus professor, Imperial College, London, OSA Fellow and 2004 President

Frontiers in Optics Conference & Exhibition (FiO/LS)
Rochester, New York, USA
November: Speaker TBA
Asia Communications and Photonics Conference
Wuhan, China
December: Speaker TBA
Photonics India
Kanpur, India

The schedule will be updated at All sessions, with the exception of the 9 February invitation-only session, are open to the public and the media. For ticket inquiries, please contact

Most presentations will be recorded and available at: or on The Optical Society’s YouTube channel.

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

OSA 100 Centennial Sponsors

The Optical Society acknowledges the generosity of our corporate sponsors and media partners: Thorlabs, Inc., Corning, Inc., Edmund Optics, Go!Foton, Hamamatsu Corporation, IDEX Corporation, Navitar, Inc., OFS, Optimax Systems, RPC Photonics, Inc., Synopsys, Inc., TOPTICA Photonics, Inc., TRUMPF, Inc., Zygo Corporation, Business Wire, Laser Focus World and Photonics Media.


Media Contacts:
The Optical Society
Rebecca B. Andersen, +1 202-416-1443
The Optical Society
Joshua Miller, +1 202-416-1435


Media Contacts:
The Optical Society
Rebecca B. Andersen, +1 202-416-1443
The Optical Society
Joshua Miller, +1 202-416-1435