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OSA rebrands as 'Optica'

20 Sep 2021

New name for The Optical Society references one of the organization's scientific journals.

The Optical Society, previously known as the Optical Society of America or simply the abbreviation “OSA”, has rebranded and changed its name to “Optica”.

Referencing the organization’s premium journal - and geographically neutral - the new name is intended to position the society to “further advance optics and photonics to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems”.

Global connections
Founded in 1916, as a regional organization in the United States, Optica says it now encompasses a community of more than 430,000 people, with connections around the world.

The society’s current president, Connie Chang-Hasnain, commented: “When the organization began more than 100 years ago, it was primarily focused on supporting a small group of members and companies in America who were working on technologies like lens design and photography.

“Today the optics and photonics industry has grown exponentially. The field has evolved and now includes metamaterials, ultrafast laser science, quantum technology, 5G networks, and many other technologies.

“As a champion of the field, our organization’s name must reflect the work being undertaken and the people performing the work. Now is the time for our name to change to one that honors our legacy, is true to our present and embraces our future.”

Back in 2008, The Optical Society of America had rebranded itself as "The Optical Society" - although at the time it did not change its legal name, and retained the "OSA" acronym.

"The change was a step in the right direction," explains the society in a series of FAQs discussing the latest change on its web site. "Still, as our leadership envisioned the organization’s future and provided recommendations on how we might best continue to evolve, they found that 'The Optical Society' name remained an obstacle.

"The relatively slight modification to the original Optical Society of America title did not reflect the significant changes the society has experienced, nor did it provide sufficient room for its continued growth."

Waived registrations
The process of adopting a completely new name began with a list of more than 1000 possible alternatives, reports the society on its web site. That was eventually pared down to a short-list of seven options, which were then tested via community feedback.

Optica’s CEO, Elizabeth Rogan, added: “Our new name was developed in collaboration and consultation with our community. We knew it was critical to choose a name representing who we have become and possessing a strong strategic fit for our next chapter.”

The rebranding coincides with some new programs and services being offered by the organization. For example, starting in 2022, Optica says that members living in emerging market countries will be able to participate in both its in-person and virtual meetings for free.

“Offering waived registration removes significant financial barriers for these members and ensures learning, connecting and sharing is accessible to everyone,” it stated.

In conjunction with the rebranding, the society has also created a portrait gallery of nearly 70 members that is intended to showcase and celebrate the diversity of the global optics and photonics community.

Called “Faces of Optica”, the images were captured over the last three months by portrait photographer Sam Barker, and can be viewed here.

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