OSA sets up innovation award to honour pioneer

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The OSA Foundation has launched a fundraising campaign to establish an award in honour of the late optical communications pioneer Tingye Li. The Tingye Li Innovation Award will recognise top-performing young professionals who have demonstrated innovation in their research presented at the annual OFC Conference and Exposition.

Li, who died in December 2012, was a past president and fellow emeritus of The Optical Society (OSA) and was well known for his contributions to lightwave technology and optical fibre communications. The award, to be presented annually, is intended to celebrate Li’s significant contributions to the field of microwaves, lasers and optical communications, and recognize his passion for the future of optics. The Foundation is seeking to raise at least $150,000 USD to permanently endow the award.

'Tingye was that rare combination of pioneering scientist and inspiring mentor,' said G. Michael Morris, chair of The OSA Foundation board. 'One of his favourite sayings was: "It is by standing on the shoulders of giants that we are able to see further." By aiming to establish an award in Tingye’s honor, The OSA Foundation hopes to provide future generations of scientists the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of Tingye—a giant in his own right.'

Li had a long and successful career that began in 1957 at Bell Telephone Laboratories (later AT&T Bell Laboratories), where he worked for 41 years until his retirement in 1998. While there, Li authored and coauthored more than 100 journal papers, patents and books in the areas of antennas, microwave propagation, lasers and optical communications. He made significant contributions in the fields of lightwave technologies and systems, and he spearheaded research on wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) transmission systems that revolutionized long-distance telecommunication networks.

Donations to the Tingye Li Innovation Award are accepted at www.osa.org/donate.

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