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Thomas Baer, a 1974 Lawrence graduate and executive director of the Stanford Photonics Research Center at Stanford University, was recently recognized by The Optical Society (OSA) with its Robert E. Hopkins Leadership Award.

Baer was honored for his initiation of the idea of LaserFest and his leadership in making LaserFest an extremely successful worldwide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first demonstration of the laser.

“OSA is proud to honor Tom for his leadership in the field of optics and photonics,” said OSA President Tony Heinz. “Tom has made major contributions to advancing the science and technology of light. His accomplishments and commitment serve to inspire the next generation of optics researchers and educators.”

The Robert E. Hopkins Award recognizes an individual or group who has had a significant impact on the global optics and photonics community, or an individual or group from the optics and photonics community who has had a significant impact on society as a whole stemming from non-research-oriented activities.

The award seeks to recognize achievements that would not be eligible for a traditional OSA award or medal. The review process for each of these awards is rigorous, as each nominee is carefully evaluated by a selection committee. The OSA Board of Directors appoints a committee to oversee each award or medal selection process. The committee is then responsible for the evaluation of nominees and recommends the recipient to the OSA Awards Committee of the Board of Directors and the full Board of Directors for approval.

Recognized in 1994 with Lawrence’s Lucia Russell Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award, Baer has been awarded more than 60 patents. He is a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science and The Optical Society of America, an organization he served as president of in 2009.