The Optica/SPIE chapter at Columbia was started by former PhD student Kishore Padmaraju at the behest of Professor Tony Heinz, who had become the president of the OSA that year but was disappointed that there was no student chapter at Columbia. Together with former students from Professor Richard Osgood's group: Richard Grote, Jeff Driscoll, and Jacob Mower, the first OSA chapter was put together.

first meeting

Over the years, Columbia has been an active member in the Optica/SPIE community. In 2012, students at Columbia and City College of New York SPIE collaboratively hosted SPIE's FOCUS conference in New York City. FOCUS was held in concert with OSA's IONS conference and sponsored in part by Hamamatsu, Snyopsis, American Elements, and Thorlabs. Over 100 student members of the SPIE, OSA, European Optical Society, and American Physical Society representing over 25 countries around the world including Germany, Australia, Armenia, Colombia, and Ukraine participated in FOCUS-IONS.