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History of the Society

SPIE Exhiborama 1958

SPIE 3rd Annual Exhiborama, Los Angeles, California, USA, 1958

2016 - SPIE leaders participating on National Photonics Initiative task forces on high-power lasers and neuroscience contribute to advancing strategic progress in both fields, including languge in U.S. funding legislation specifying "optics and photonics." SPIE industry survey shows continuing up-trend in photonics market sectors.

2015 - The United Nations International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL) 2015 is celebrated through the photonics community; SPIE is a Founding Partner and helds a worldwide IYL photography contest. SPIE Photonics West attracts a record-breaking 21,000 attendees. SPIE names 58 new fellows to the Society, surpassing 1,000 in total; general membership reaches 18,500. Karen Egiazarian is named editor of the Journal of Electronic Imaging.

2014
- Ali Adibi is named editor-in-chief of the Journal of Nanophotonics. SPIE contributes $100,000 in a University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences FoTO matching funds program established by SPIE Past President James Wyant. SPIE launches three new journals: the Journal of Medical Imaging, Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems, and Neurophotonics. Michael Eismann is named editor of Optical Engineering.

2013 - A new author-choice open access publishing program for SPIE journals launches with strong participation. The National Photonics Initiative is launched, enhancing the community's ability to raise awareness of the technology; SPIE is a Founding Partner. Criteria for optics and photonics undergraduate degree programs proposed by an ABET (Applied Science Accreditation Commission) team led by SPIE are approved. SPIE joins the Photonics21 Association, established to foster public-private partnerships under the European Research Framework Programme Horizon 2020.

2012 - SPIE.tv reaches 100,000 views on YouTube. The SPIE Digital Library is expanded to include the earliest published articles, from 1962. SPIE Fellows Alan Willner and Paul McManamon co-chair the U.S. National Academies' committee on a new report titled, "Optics and Photonics, Essential Technologies for our Nation," and present the first public briefing at SPIE Optics and Photonics. The addition of 21 new SPIE Student Chapters boosts the total past 200.  

2011 - SPIE launches mobile applications for the SPIE Field Guide to Geometrical Optics, SPIE Newsroom, and SPIE Conferences. Chris Mack is appointed editor of the Journal of Micro/Nanolithography, MEMS and MOEMS. Optical Engineering celebrates a 50-volume milestone. SPIE conducts the largest global salary survey of the optics and photonics community representing 93 countries with more than 6,800 responses.

2010 - SPIE Advancing the Laser video series launches anniversary year of the laser. SPIE and IS&T appoint Gaurav Sharma editor of Journal of Electronic Imaging. Photonics West makes successful move to San Francisco. SPIE eBooks launch in the SPIE Digital Library. SPIE publishes a virtual museum of laser devices featuring devices from throughout the 50-year history of the technology. SPIE launches Journal of Photonics for Energy. SPIE begins first accreditation cycle as optics and photonics lead for university programs as a member of ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). A new award in biomedical optics is established in honor of Britton Chance.

2009 - Ron Driggers is named editor of Optical Engineering and Lihong Wang editor of the Journal of Biomedical Optics. SPIE celebrates the telescope's 400-year anniversary. SPIE launches online courses in optics and photonics.

2008 - The SPIE Digital Library passes the 250,000-article milestone. SPIE retires its regional chapters, and welcomes the launch of new regional societies. SPIE installs a solar electric system on the roof of its Bellingham (Washington, USA) headquarters. SPIE and Photonics Media launch the Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation. A Senior Members program is announced.

2007 - SPIE retires its DBA "The International Society for Optical Engineering" to operate as SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

2006 - The online SPIE Newsroom and SPIE Professional member magazine are launched. Two electronic journals, the Journal of Nanophotonics and the Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, are announced. Membership is over 17,000 and SPIE has 91 Student Chapters throughout the world.

2005 - SPIE celebrates its 50th anniversary in San Diego, California, USA, in conjunction with SPIE Optics and Photonics. The SPIE Digital Library is extended back to 1990 and surpasses 200,000 online papers.

2004 - SPIE launches two new events, SPIE Optics East and SPIE Photonics Europe. SPIE Press introduces the Field Guide Series with four titles: Field Guide to Visual and Ophthalmic Optics, Field Guide to Adaptive Optics, Field Guide to Atmospheric Optics, and Field Guide to Geometrical Optics. SPIE membership reaches an all-time high of 16,550 members.

2003 - SPIE Digital Library is launched, offering 70,000 full-text papers from SPIE journals and conference proceedings. SPIE and OSA secure a $1.7 million NSF grant that will actively involve students, parents, teachers, school districts, and their greater communities in the areas of science and engineering.

2002 - The Journal of Microlithography, Microfabrication, and Microsystems (JM3) debuts in March. MySPIE offers authors, chairs, committee members, and other constituents a web-based manuscript submission program to give these audiences better support.

2001 - In January, oemagazine launches, as a new member publication on optics, photonics, and society news. The SPIE Europe office opens in Cardiff, UK.

2000 - SPIE launches Optical Networks magazine covering the technologies, architectures, services, and applications in the field of optical telecommunications and networking systems. The SPIE Scholarship Committee awards over $220,000 in Scholarships and Grants. SPIE Member Zhores I. Alferov wins the Nobel Prize in Physics for his role in developing semiconductor heterostructures used in high-speed optoelectronics.

1999 - After more than five years as Executive Director of SPIE, Jim Pearson resigns. Eugene Arthurs is appointed Executive Director. SPIE Membership continues to grow and reaches an all-time high with 14,338 individual members.

1998 - SPIE introduces the first CD-ROM short course at the 1998 SPIE Photonics West Event. SPIE journals become available online. The Society starts the year with over 13,750 Members. Members nominate 21 new Fellows to the Society.

1997 - Photonics West is a huge success with over 10,000 attendees and 415 exhibitors. Membership reaches all-time high with over 13,500 Individual Members and 317 Corporate Members. The number of SPIE Regional Chapters reaches a high of 21 in over 17 different countries. SPIE Journals from 1996 are available for the first time on a single, searchable, readable, and printable CD-Rom. The SPIE Women in Optics Technical Community is formed.

1996 - The Journal of Biomedical Optics is introduced and publishes four quarterly issues. The Photonics Resource Center on the World Wide Web (optics.org) is launched. SPIE and OSA cooperate to lead the formation of the Coalition for Photonics and Optics.

1995 - SPIE celebrates its 40th anniversary. Photonics West debuts in San Jose, California, USA. Co-located with the Photonics West Event is the SPIE/IS&T Electronic Imaging Event. SPIE cosponsors Photomask in Kawasaki City, Japan, with SPIE Japan and BACUS. SPIE and COEMA cosponsor the International Sensors Application and Electronic Components Exhibition in Xi'an, Shaanxi, China.

1994 - SPIE offers its first-ever CD-ROM Proceedings at the Electronic Imaging Symposium. spie.org makes its debut. The Photonics East symposium is inaugurated. SPIE opens a satellite office in Bergen, Norway. Continuing Education Units are offered for short courses at the AeroSense Symposium in Orlando, Florida.

1993 - After 24 years as Executive Director of SPIE, Joe Yaver announces his retirement. Jim Pearson is appointed new Executive Director. SPIE Press publishes The Infrared & Electro-Optical Systems Handbook. A Proceedings milestone is reached when the Society publishes its 2,000th Volume. SPIE cosponsors the first Symposium on Coupling Technology to National Need in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

1992 - SPIE develops its first fully operational Internet site with plans for a complete online services expansion. The quarterly Journal of Electronic Imaging debuts, co-published by SPIE and IS&T.
1991 - Representatives of SPIE and the newly formed European Optical Society (EOS) sign the EUROPTO joint venture agreement, improving international collaboration in organizing optics events in Europe. The SPIE Annual Index of Proceedings Papers, the Society's first such publication, is introduced in May.

1990 - The Society establishes an SPIE Soviet Union Chapter, making it the first United States-based scientific and engineering society to open a chapter in the then-U.S.S.R. SPIE also establishes Chapters in Poland and Hungary. International Headquarters expansion is completed in September.

1989 - OE Reports circulation exceeds 70,000. SPIE boasts 200 Sustaining Members. SPIE publishes its first Tutorial Text. The Harold E. Edgerton Award is given for the first time. Membership reaches 10,000.

1988 - SPIE establishes the SPIE Optical Engineering Press to provide a framework for its special scholarly publications.

1987 - The Society expands its presence in Europe with additional chapters, events, and meetings. An agreement is reached with the European Physical Society and Europtica Services I. C. to cosponsor a series of International Congresses for the next four years.

1986 - Two new symposia are introduced, OE/LASE in Los Angeles and Technical Symposium Southeast in Orlando. The Society celebrates its 30th Anniversary in San Diego, California.

1985 - Optics Education, the first survey of graduate and undergraduate programs in optics and optoelectronics, is published. SPIE and the ANRT-Association Nationale de la Recherchâ Technique, co-organize a three-year European conference series.

1984 - OE Reports is launched to provide monthly news and commentary for the optical engineering community. Membership reaches 5,000. Optical Engineering circulation exceeds 7,000. The total number of Proceedings Volumes distributed since their inception reaches 200,000. SPIE holds more than 70 conferences worldwide.

1983 - The First International Technical Symposium (Geneva, Switzerland) has 1,300 attendees from 26 countries. Due to demand in various technical areas, new Technical Working Groups are formed. The Dennis Gabor Award is established to recognize outstanding inventive accomplishments in optical systems. International Headquarters is officially dedicated in Bellingham, Washington.

1982 - SPIE is appointed International Secretariat for the 15th International Congress on High-Speed Photography and Photonics. SPIE holds five major symposia.

1981 - To reflect its rapidly changing Membership and fast-paced technology, the Society name is officially defined as SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering. The Society celebrates its 25th Anniversary in San Diego, California, with a record 21 technical conferences, 160 instrument displays, and 18 tutorials. SPIE reaches milestones of 4,000 Members and 5,000 exhibitors. Over 10,000 papers are published in SPIE Proceedings and Optical Engineering. Over 150,000 copies of SPIE Proceedings and Journals are distributed.

1980 - Membership reaches 3,000. SPIE Headquarters reaches 30 full-time employees. The Society purchases land in Bellingham, Washington, for future construction of International Headquarters. The number of technical papers doubles in the SPIE Journal, Optical Engineering.

1979 - Proceedings Volume 200 is published. The SPIE Technology Achievement Award is established to recognize outstanding accomplishments in optical, electro-optical, or photonics engineering technologies. SPIE holds 46 technical conferences. The Society establishes its first European office.

1978 - Educational Fund established to foster educational activities in optical engineering. SPIE holds 36 technical conferences.

1977 - The Gold Medal of the Society Award is established to recognize outstanding engineering or scientific accomplishments in optics, electro-optics, or photographic technologies or applications. The Society Headquarters is moved to Bellingham, Washington. SPIE income reaches $1,000,000. Membership is 2,000. The 100th Proceedings Volume is published.

1976 - SPIE holds 27 technical conferences. SPIE celebrates its 20th Anniversary with Brigadier General George W. Goddard and Rudolf Kingslake being honored guests.

1975 - The Society becomes financially viable with income reaching $500,000. SPIE holds 16 technical conferences. SPIE presents author manuscript kit at all its conferences.

1974 - Rudolf Kingslake Medal and Prize is established for recognition of the most noteworthy paper to appear in Optical Engineering. SPIE holds 10 technical conferences.

1973 - National Headquarters moves from Redondo Beach to Palos Verdes, California. SPIE holds 11 technical conferences.

1972 - The SPIE Journal name changes to Optical Engineering. The 100th Sustaining Member enrolls in SPIE. SPIE holds eight technical conferences.

1971 - Journal name changed to Journal of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Albert M. Pezzuto Award is established to recognize a currently serving or former national officer or director who has given exceptional service to the Society. SPIE holds six technical conferences.

1970 - Journal name changed to Journal SPIE, and SPIE-GLASS is included in Journal. Tabletop Exhiborama is established as SPIE hallmark at the Fiber Optics meeting in Dallas, Texas. SPIE produces its first meeting in Japan.

1969 - Membership reaches 1,200 and Sustaining Membership reaches 50. SPIE holds five technical conferences. Joseph Yaver is hired as Executive Director.

Chuck DeMund, with Jacques Cousteau

SPIE Past President Chuck DeMund,
at left, with Jacques Cousteau, in 1968

1968 - Physical Optics Notebook, by Parrent and Thompson, is published.

1967 - Demand for technical conferences continues to grow; SPIE meets demand by offering 4 more technical conferences and supporting Proceedings. SPIE income reaches $50,000.

1966 - President's Award is established to recognize meritorious service of outstanding benefit to the Society. Award is given by the President and the Board of Directors. SPIE holds four technical conferences.

1965 - The SPIE Newsletter name is changed to SPIE-GLASS. The number of national SPIE Chapters reaches 15.

1964 - The Journal is renamed the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers Journal to reflect the Society's formal name change to the "Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers."

1963 - SPIE holds its first technical seminar-type conference and publishes its first official proceedings, on image enhancement.

1962 - The official Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers Journal is launched with an October/November issue.

1961 - Membership in SPIE reaches 1,000. George W. Goddard Award is established to recognize exceptional achievement in optical or photonic instrumentation for aerospace, atmospheric science, or astronomy.

1960 - The SPIE Newsletter publishes its first group of technical papers. The SPIE Sustaining Membership category is created. First Honorary Membership awarded to Lewis Larmore.

1959 - A. J. Carr is hired as first full-time executive secretary. The first photo-instrumentation course is organized through the University of California at Los Angeles.

1958 - Karl Fairbanks Memorial Award established. The third SPIE Symposium marks the first time government agencies cosponsor an SPIE symposium.

1957 - The first SPIE Newsletter is published. The first national technical symposium is produced. Membership in SPIE reaches 200.

1956 - Incorporated as Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers in the State of California. The Society produces its first product display (Exhiborama) with 250 in attendance. First 100 Members.

1955 - On July 1, the Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers is founded to specialize in the application of photo-optical instrumentation. The Society's first local technical meeting is held in Los Angeles on August 8.