At four years old, Stephen Fantone’s father took him outside of the house to look into the sky. There, they spotted Sputnik orbiting the earth. This moment is what gave Dr. Fantone, founder and president of Optikos, his interest in science. He carried this interest into his teenage years when he would build telescopes and electronics in his basement as a hobby. One day, his curiosity and innovations would lead to him to pioneer advances in optical and metrology equipment and solutions.
Dr. Fantone discussed his professional career and 40-year history with The Optical Society in a recent interview, posted on their website. He has been involved with OSA since 1973, when he joined the association as a junior in his undergraduate career at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). While at MIT, he found a summer job at Honeywell Radiation Center where he used his innovation to help design infrared systems. The experience lasted three summers and gave him the opportunity to work on projects such as the design of space-based sensors.
Initially, attending an annual OSA meeting was an intimidating experience for the young scientist who entered college at the age of 16. This changed when Dr. Fantone’s paper was accepted by the society and he had to present the paper in front of fellow members. He had only just begun his graduate career at the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics.
At only 21, he took on the responsibility of house chairman for the local section of OSA and had the opportunity to have dinner twice a month with local leaders. His involvement with OSA flourished, meeting several influential members and future presidents of the society through his academic and professional career.
Dr. Fantone’s involvement with OSA led to the role of treasurer from 1996 to 2013. In 2007, he received an award for his outstanding service to the optical community and to OSA, for his outstanding vision, leadership and service in setting the financial policies for the society that provide future financial stability and opportunity.
The Optical Society is the leading professional association in optics and photonics and home to international accomplished science, engineering, and business leaders. OSA provides quality information and inspiring interactions that power achievements in the science of light.