The University of Southampton

Southampton Student Chapter ‘best in the world’ again

Published: 2 November 2007

The Optoelectronics Research Centre’s Optical Society of America Student Chapter has been awarded the ‘2007 Excellence Award’ from the Optical Society of America (OSA) again. Presented annually during the Student Chapter Leadership Meeting, this award grants $1,000 US dollars to the two most outstanding student chapters. The Southampton Student Chapter will use this money to help develop their outreach programme.

The award was given for the group’s contribution to the recently formed ‘International Network of Students’ programme, which brings together OSA Chapters from across the world. To mark the beginning of this unique programme, the Southampton students hosted the first ever International Network of Students Conference last July. The students organised an exciting programme which included guest speakers from industry and academia.  

They were also praised for the rapid recovery of their successful educational outreach programmes after a fire at the ORC in October 2005 destroyed all their demonstrations. The ‘Lightwave’ programme takes demonstrations into schools and helps teach children more about science and optics in a fun and interactive way.  

Over 100 OSA Student Chapters, located in more than 27 countries, compete for this prestigious award. ORC students received the same award in 2001.  

‘I am extremely proud of our students and it is nice to see that their time and hard work has been rewarded,’ comments Professor David Payne. ‘What they are doing is certainly making a difference and is really worthwhile. These awards are an excellent idea because they give our students the incentive to get involved and be a part of one of the best Student Chapters in the world.’ 

Chris Holmes, Chapter President and PhD student at the ORC, collected the award from Eric Van Stryland the Dean and Director CREOL and past OSA president on behalf of the Chapter at the Frontiers in Optics (FiO) 2007, San Jose 16-20 Sep 2007 and commended the team effort that helped get this award: ‘The chapter would not have received this prestigious award if it were not for the efforts of the following people: 

Trina Ng, Cesar Misas, Angela Camerlingo, Hamish Hunt, Daniel Friedrich, Dave Banks, Laura Lagonigro, Mario Garcia-Ramirez, Ananth Subramanian, Lionel Provost, Hazel Hung and Nikita Daga. It has been really great working with them all.’ 


1. The Southampton University Student Chapter of the Optical Society of America (OSA) was established by research students at the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) in 1994, making it the first ever international student chapter. If you would like more information about the history of the Southampton chapter visit The Chapter provides a professional and social hub for the students working in optics. In addition to an active social calendar, the Chapter regularly engages in schools outreach projects, in part funded by the OSA, and arranges visits to industrial and academic laboratories. The overwhelming majority of student members are from the ORC, but the Chapter is looking to include those working in photonics across the University.  

2. The parent body, the OSA, is a major America organisation that serves the Optics, Optoelectronics and laser communities world-wide. 

3. The Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton is one of the largest university-based research groups entirely devoted to optoelectronics in the world, and has maintained a position at the forefront of photonics research for over four decades. Its long and well established track record in the fields of optical fibre, lasers, waveguides, devices and optoelectronic materials has fostered innovation, enterprise, cross-boundary and multi-disciplinary activities. It has built strong links with industry, research institutions and universities around the world, from informal collaborations to large-scale funding. Several spin out companies, including Southampton Photonics Inc, Stratophase Ltd, Mesophotonics Ltd and ChG Southampton Ltd, have commericalized the fruits of ORC research; while its extensive outreach programme has brought lasers and optical fibres into schools across the country. 

Posted by Marketing Officer, on 5 November 2007

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