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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Physics and Astronomy
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

Committee on Optical Science and Engineering



Harnessing Light: Optical Science and Engineering for the 21st Century

Released 1998

Optical science and engineering affect almost every aspect of our lives. Millions of miles of optical fiber carry voice and data signals around the world. Lasers are used in surgery of the retina, kidneys, and heart. New high-efficiency light sources promise dramatic reductions in electricity consumption. Night-vision equipment and satellite surveillance are changing how wars are fought. Industry uses optical methods in everything from the production of computer chips to the construction of tunnels. Harnessing Light surveys this multitude of applications, as well as the status of the optics industry and of research and education in optics, and identifies actions that could enhance the field's contributions to society and facilitate its continued technical development.

Committee Members and NRC Staff

Charles V. Shank, Chair, Director, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
Aram Mooradian, Vice Chair, Micracor, Inc.
David Attwood, University of California at Berkeley
Gary Bjorklund, Optivision, Inc.
Robert Byer, Stanford University
Michael Campbell, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Steven Chu, Stanford University
Thomas Deutsch, Massachusetts General Hospital
Elsa Garmire, Dartmouth College
Alastair Glass, Lucent Technologies, Bell Laboratories
John Greivenkamp, University of Arizona
Arthur Guenther, Sandia National Laboratories
Thomas Hartwick, TRW
Robin Hochstrasser, University of Pennsylvania
Erich Ippen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Kristina Johnson, University of Colorado at Boulder
Dennis Killinger, University of South Florida
Herwig Kogelnik, Lucent Technologies, Bell Laboratories
Robert Shannon, University of Arizona
Glenn Sincerbox, University of Arizona
Brian Thompson, University of Rochester
Eli Yablonovitch, University of California at Los Angeles

Board Liaisons

Steven Chu, BPA;
Elsa Reichmanis, NMAB

NRC Staff

Dr. Donald C. Shapero, Director, BPA and COSE
Dr. Robert Schafrik, Director, NMAB
Dr. Daniel Morgan, Program Officer
Dr. Sandra Hyland, Program Officer
Natasha Casey, Program Assistant


The Committee is pleased to acknowledge support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Liaison representatives include L.N. Durvasula (ARPA); L. Goldberg, D. Caldwell, and B. Schneider (NSF); and K. Gebbie (NIST).