The Optical Society

The Optical Society (OSA) is a professional association of individuals and companies with an interest in optics and photonics. It publishes journals, and organizes conferences and exhibitions. In 2019 it had about 22,000 members in more than 100 different countries, including some 300 companies.[2][3]

The Optical Society
Founded1916 (1916)
FounderPerley G. Nutting
Typeprofessional association
FocusOptics and photonics
  • Washington, DC, United States
Area served
MethodProfessional journals and conferences
Key people
Ursula Gibson (2019 President)
Ian Walmsley (2018 President)
Elizabeth A. Rogan (CEO)


OSA was founded in 1916 as the "Optical Society of America", under the leadership of Perley G. Nutting,[4] with 30 optical scientists and instrument makers based in Rochester, New York. It soon published its first journal of research results and established an annual meeting.[5][6] The first local section was established in Rochester, New York in 1916, and the Journal of the Optical Society of America was created in 1918.[6] The first series of joint meetings with the American Physical Society was in 1918.[6] In 2008 it changed its name to The Optical Society (OSA).[7]

Scientific publishing

The society publishes a number of journals and a magazine.

Primary journals

  • Advances in Optics and Photonics, ISSN 1943-8206; 2009–Present - Publishing long review articles and tutorials.
  • Applied Optics, ISSN 1559-128X (print); ISSN 2155-3165 (online); 1962–Present - Covering optical applications-centered research.
  • Biomedical Optics Express, ISSN 2156-7085; 2010–Present - An open access journal covering optics, photonics and imaging in the life sciences.
  • Journal of the Optical Society of America, 1917–1983,[8] which was split into two journals in 1984:
  • Optica, ISSN 2334-2536; 2014–Present - Rapid dissemination of high-impact results in all areas of optics and photonics.[9]
  • Optical Materials Express, ISSN 2159-3930; 2011–Present - An open access journal covering advances in novel optical materials, their properties, modeling, synthesis and fabrication techniques.
  • Optics Express, ISSN 1094-4087; 1997–Present - An open access journal covering all areas of optics.
  • Optics Letters, ISSN 0146-9592 (print); ISSN 1539-4794 (online); 1977–Present - Providing rapid publication of short papers in all fields of optical science and technology.
  • OSA Continuum, ISSN 2578-7519; 2018–Present – An open access journal providing rapid publication of papers in optics and photonics

Partnered journals

  • Applied Spectroscopy, 1951–present. Published by the Society for Applied Spectroscopy.
  • Chinese Optics Letters, 2003–present. Published by Chinese Laser Press.
  • Journal of Optical Communications and Networking, 2009–present. Jointly published by OSA and IEEE. Published from 2002-2009 as Journal of Optical Networking.
  • Journal of Display Technology, 2005–2016. Jointly published by OSA and IEEE.
  • Journal of Lightwave Technology, 1998–present. Jointly published by OSA and IEEE.
  • Journal of Optical Technology, 1999–present. English translation of Opticheskii Zhurnal published by the S. I. Vavilov State Optical Institute.
  • Journal of Optical Society of Korea, 2007–present. Published by the Optical Society of Korea.
  • Photonics Research, 2013–present. Jointly published by OSA and Chinese Laser Press.


Optics and Photonics News, 1975–present. Distributed to all members.


The Optical Society presents awards and honors, including OSA Fellow, Honorary Membership, and Awards/Medals. OSA's awards and medals program is endowed through the OSA Foundation (OSAF), and includes more than 20 named awards; among them are the following:[10]

OSA presidents

The following persons are or have been presidents of the society:[11]

See also


  1. "OPTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA INC". ProPublica. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  2. Colleen Morrison, "Societies: the Optical Society of America," The Industrial Physicist, Dec. 2003/Jan. 2004, pp. 29-30.
  3. "OSA Membership". Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  4. Observers, Illuminants, Light Sources for Color Difference Calculations, William Reginald Dawes
  5. "Why 1916? A Look Back at OSA's Roots.", files of W. Lewis Hyde, Optics & Photonics News, Vol. 17, No. 1, Jan. 2006, pp. 18-19.
  6. "Optical Society of America". Retrieved 2019-04-27.
  7. Johnson, Anne Frances; Lamontagne, Nancy D. (2016). "A Century of Light". Physics Today. 69 (6): 34–39. doi:10.1063/PT.3.3197.
  8. "JOSA". Optics InfoBase. Retrieved 2011-06-09.
  9. "The Optical Society Launches Optica, New Open-Access Journal for Highest-Impact Research in the Science of Light". The Optical Society. 2014-07-22.
  10. "Awards & Grants". The Optical Society. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  11. "Past Presidents". The Optical Society. Retrieved 2019-11-24.
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