Eric Mazur elected to leadership of Optical Society

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Members of the Optical Society (OSA), a leading professional organization for those who study the science of light, have elected Harvard physicist Eric Mazur to serve as OSA vice president in 2015. He will serve one year as vice president, followed by one year as president-elect, president in 2017, and past-president in 2018.

Mazur is the Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics and Area Dean for Applied Physics at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), where his research has advanced the science and technology of nanophotonics, and his passion for pedagogical innovation has earned him a following among educators worldwide.

“Eric’s contributions to optics and science education are internationally recognized,” said Elizabeth A. Rogan, chief executive officer of OSA, in a statement. “His experience spans three key areas — academic research, science education, and industry. This expertise will be a valuable asset to the OSA Membership.”

Mazur came to Harvard University in 1982 after obtaining his Ph.D. at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. He joined the faculty in 1984 and received tenure six years later.

Mazur’s research group at Harvard uses light as a tool to study ultrafast phenomena like molecular dynamics, phase transitions within semiconductors, and chemical reactions. With very short and intense laser bursts, his team can also modify the fundamental properties of materials, creating new platforms for applications like high-efficiency solar cells, advanced computing technologies, and optoelectronic devices.