By John Howard, OPN Contributing Editor
I have been asked to launch a blog on optics history, or, more specifically, as that history relates to OSA. I have never blogged, and, as a matter of fact, I have never even read a blog by anyone else! But it cannot be too difficult, as there appear to be lots of bloggers with not much else to do. And my younger son says blogging is easy...so we will dive right into the deep end of the pool!
For several years we have tried to compose short columns in OPN relating to the history of OSA. That column involves digging up facts about optics people and events; presumably a blog is somewhat similar, but perhaps less formal.
How about a blog about Albert Michelson? He is a hero of sorts in optics; he was the first American to win a Nobel Prize in science (in 1907), and he won that prize for his improved optical determination of the velocity of light. Michelson was not particularly active in the Optical Society--almost all of his publications were in journals of astronomy--and he won that prize nine years before the Optical Society even existed. But OSA later devoted several sessions to Michelson’s contributions, and he was elected an Honorary Member of OSA in 1922.
Michelson was not the first Honorary Member elected by OSA; at the founding meeting of the Society, in a classroom at Columbia University in late 1916, the 30 “Charter Members” of OSA had already elected as Honorary Members the well-known astronomer George E. Hale, as well as Charles Hastings and Edward Nichols (the last two university professors under whom several of the Charter Members had studied.) And at the 1922 OSA Board meeting Samuel Stratton was also elected an Honorary Member.
Stay tuned to this blog for more on Michelson, including the astonishing story of how he made his debut into the scientific world--by presenting a plea directly to President Grant!
Further Resources from OPN
Honorary OSA Members of the 1920s and 1930
Albert Abraham Michelson: Father of the Interferometer
Michelson's Stellar Interferometer