|Origins||Founded by optical scientists in 1916 under the leadership of Perley G. Nutting|
Philip Bucksbaum (President)Elizabeth A. Rogan (CEO)
|Focus(es)||Optics and photonics|
|Method(s)||Professional journals and conferences|
|Motto||Light in Focus|
The Optical Society (originally established as the Optical Society of America, OSA) is a scientific society dedicated to advancing the study of light—optics and photonics—in theory and application, by means of publishing, organizing conferences and exhibitions, partnership with industry, and education. The organization has members in more than 100 countries. As of 2012[update], OSA had 17,000 individual members and more than 230 corporate member companies.
OSA was founded in 1916, under the leadership of Perley G. Nutting, with 30 optical scientists and instrument makers based in Rochester, New York. OSA soon began publication of its first journal of research results and established an annual meeting. It was founded as the "Optical Society of America" and has evolved into a global enterprise with a worldwide constituency. In recognition of this, the society was renamed in 2008 as The Optical Society (OSA).
The mission of the Optical Society is to promote the generation, dissemination, application, and archiving of knowledge in optics and photonics. The purposes of the Society are scientific, technical, and educational.
Scientific publishing is a core activity of the society, consisting of 16 flagship, partnered and co-published peer-reviewed journals and 1 magazine. With more than 240,000 articles including papers from over 450 conferences, the digital library, Optics InfoBase, is the largest peer-reviewed collection of optics and photonics. 
- Advances in Optics and Photonics, 2009-present, publishing long review articles and tutorials.
- Applied Optics, 1962-present, covering optical applications-centered research.
- Biomedical Optics Express, 2010-present, an open access journal covering optics, photonics and imaging in the life sciences.
- Journal of the Optical Society of America, 1917–1983, which was split into two journals in 1984:
- Optical Materials Express, 2011-present, an open access journal covering advances in novel optical materials, their properties, modeling, synthesis and fabrication techniques.
- Optics Express, 1997-present, an open access journal covering all areas of optics.
- Optics Letters, 1977-present, providing rapid publication of short papers in all fields of optical science and technology.
- 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-present. 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, 1989-present. Distributed to all OSA Members.
The Optical Society recognizes distinguished achievements in the field of optics through the presentation of awards and honors. OSA’s awards and medals program is endowed through the OSA Foundation (OSAF).
Categories of recognition include: OSA Fellow, OSA Awards, Senior Members, and Honorary Members.
- Max Born Award, recognizes contributions to physical optics, named after Max Born
- Michael Stephen Feld Biophotonics Award, recognizes individuals for innovative, influential contributions to the field of biophotonics.
- Ellis R. Lippincott Award, recognizes contributions to vibrational spectroscopy (co-sponsored with the Coblentz Society and the Society for Applied Spectroscopy).
- John Tyndall Award, recognizes contributions to fiber optic technology (co-sponsored with the IEEE Photonics Society).
- David Richardson Medal, recognizes significant contributions to optical engineering.
Conferences and exhibitions
OSA sponsors small and large meetings consisting of a technical program and an industrial exhibition appropriate to the subject matter and number of attendees. Large conferences often include professional education courses and workshops addressing the state of emerging technology and industry. The OSA Executive Speaker Series presents luminaries from industry in an informal studio setting to discuss their career paths. Past executives include Coherent CEO John Ambroso and American Elements CEO Michael Silver.
Local sections and student chapters
OSA local sections and student chapters are encouraged and supported by the umbrella organization but operate independently. Their activities may include guest speakers, educational outreach, and content from other scientific societies. In 2013, 20 local sections (13 in the U.S. and 7 non-U.S.)and more than 300 student chapters were affiliated with OSA. 
The OSA Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting programs that:
- Advance youth science education
- Provide optics education and resources to underserved populations
- Offer career and professional development resources
- Award, honor and recognize technical and business excellence
Since its establishment in 2002, the Foundation has provided funding for over 350 programs and awarded 825+ grants and prizes in more than 55 countries. Funded activities include: student travel grants, special resources for university students studying optics, scholarships and classroom and extracurricular youth science education programs.
- 2014 Philip H. Bucksbaum
- 2013 Donna Strickland
- 2012 Tony Heinz
- 2011 Christopher Dainty
- 2010 James C. Wyant
- 2009 Thomas M. Baer
- 2008 Rod C. Alferness
- 2007 Joseph H. Eberly
- 2006 Eric Van Stryland
- 2005 Susan Houde-Walter
- 2004 Peter L. Knight
- 2003 G. Michael Morris
- 2002 Anthony M. Johnson
- 2001 Richard C. Powell
- 2000 Erich P. Ippen
- 1999 Anthony E. Siegman
- 1998 Gary C. Bjorklund
- 1997 Janet S. Fender
- 1996 Duncan T. Moore
- 1995 Tingye Li
- 1994 Robert L. Byer
- 1993 Elsa M. Garmire
- 1992 Joseph W. Goodman
- 1991 John N. Howard
- 1990 Richard L. Abrams
- 1989 Herwig Kogelnik
- 1988 William B. Bridges
- 1987 Robert G. Greenler
- 1986 Jean M. Bennett
- 1985 Robert R. Shannon
- 1984 Donald R. Herriott
- 1983 Kenneth M. Baird
- 1982 Robert P. Madden
- 1981 Anthony J. DeMaria
- 1980 Warren J. Smith
- 1979 Dudley Williams
- 1978 Emil Wolf
- 1977 Peter Franken
- 1976 Boris P. Stoicheff
- 1975 Arthur L. Schawlow
- 1974 F. Dow Smith
- 1973 Robert E. Hopkins
- 1972 Aden B. Meinel
- 1971 Bruce H. Billings
- 1970 W. Lewis Hyde
- 1969 Karl G. Kessler
- 1968 Arthur F. Turner
- 1967 John A. Sanderson
- 1966 Van Zandt Williams
- 1965 Seibert Q. Duntley
- 1964 Richard C. Lord
- 1963 Stanley S. Ballard
- 1962 David MacAdam
- 1961 Wallace R. Brode
- 1960 James G. Baker
- 1959 John D. Strong
- 1958 Irving C. Gardner
- 1955-1957 Ralph A. Sawyer
- 1953-1954 Deane B. Judd
- 1951-1952 Brian O'Brien
- 1949-1950 William F. Meggers
- 1947-1948 Rudolf Kingslake
- 1945-1946 George R. Harrison
- 1943-1944 August H. Pfund
- 1941-1942 Archie G. Worthing
- 1939-1940 Kasson S. Gibson
- 1937-1938 Roswell Clifton Gibbs
- 1935-1936 Arthur C. Hardy
- 1933-1934 Wilbur B. Rayton
- 1932 Eugene C. Crittenden
- 1930-1931 Loyd A. Jones
- 1928-1929 Irwin G. Priest
- 1926-1927 William E. Forsythe
- 1924-1925 Herbert E. Ives
- 1922-1923 Leonard T. Troland
- 1921 James P. C. Southall
- 1920 Floyd K. Richtmyer
- 1918-1919 Frederick Eugene Wright
- 1916-1917 Perley G. Nutting
- American Institute of Physics
- American Physical Society
- European Photonics Industry Consortium
- International Commission for Optics
- Optics Classification and Indexing Scheme
- Society for Imaging Science and Technology
- Colleen Morrison, "Societies: the Optical Society of America," The Industrial Physicist, Dec. 2003/Jan. 2004, pp. 29-30.
- Observers, Illuminants, Light Sources for Color Difference Calculations, William Reginald Dawes
- "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.
- "Mission of OSA". Retrieved 21 June 2011.
- "Optics InfoBase".
- "JOSA". Optics InfoBase. Retrieved 2011-06-09.
- OSA Executive Speaker Series, The Optical Society
- Chapter Locations, The Optical Society. Washington, DC, 2010.
- The OSA Foundation, OSA Foundation. Washington, DC, 2010.
- Official website
- The Inter-Society Color Council records at Hagley Museum and Library contain materials from the Optical Society of America including annual meeting programs, reports issued by the Committee on Colorimetry, and issues of the Society's official publication, the Journal of the Optical Society of America.