Hendrik de Lang, an OSA Fellow Emeritus and member of the Society since 1962, died on 7 October 2010, three days after suffering a heart attack in a hospital in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. He was 90 years old.
Hendrik de Lang was born in 1920 in Groningen, The Netherlands, and studied physics at Groningen University. However, his studies were interrupted by the breakout of World War II. Forced to work for the occupying forces in Berlin, Germany, de Lang and his friend, Roel Flik, decided to flee back to The Netherlands. There, Lang stayed in hiding until the end of the war. During this period, he met his future wife, Sientje Danes, while ice skating.
After finishing his studies at the Groningen University, de Lang continued his activities there, working in Frits Zernike's group. In 1955, he joined the Philips Research Laboratories in Eindhoven. His research interests were in optical design and coherent optics. In 1962, he became the group leader of the optics group at Philips, and he conducted early research on the polarization properties of helium-neon lasers. Among his many accomplishments was the "Plumbicon" color-separating prism system (with G. Bouwhuis, 1965).
In 1966, de Lang obtained his Ph.D. degree (cum laude) from Utrecht University. In the later years of his life, he was proud of the fact that, in his dissertation, he was the first to propose how ring lasers might be used as a gyroscope.
The next year, de Lang took over the vacant optics chair at Delft University. However, this position didn't suit him very well, so he returned to Philips to become the group leader of the electron optics group in 1969, and he retired from Philips in 1980.
Prior to his death, de Lang had nearly completed an article defending the theory of light as proposed in "TraitÃ© de la lumiÃ¨re" by his hero, the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens. The article will be published posthumously.
Throughout his life, de Lang was devoted to classical music. He not only played the violin and viola, but he also built some fine instruments.
He was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the province of Groningen in the northern part of The Netherlands. He leaves behind his wife, three children and four grandchildren.
—Eltjo de Lang, son of Hendrik de Lang
Benedetto Daino, one of the principal scientists responsible for advancing optical communications in Italy, died on 12 January 2011 in Palermo at the age of 75.
Daino graduated from the University of Palermo in electrical engineering in 1960. He went on to become a visiting researcher at Stanford University in 1965, and he earned his Ph.D. in 1971 (the Italian "Libera Docenza"). In 1961, he began setting up an optics research division at the Rome-based Fondazione Ugo Bordoni, a nonprofit organization for the development of telecommunications at the time hosted by the Italian Postal Office Laboratories.
Focusing his efforts on research in the mounting laser revolution of the 1960s, he fostered a whole generation of optical scientists that now form the backbone of Italian research in laser physics and optical communications. He brought together physicists and electrical engineers with both speculative and applications-oriented minds, and he contributed in no small manner to the considerable scientific and technological achievements made to optics in the late 1990s.
Daino translated many of his brilliant ideas into major achievements in lasers, optical fibers, coherence theory and nonlinear optics. He was a warm and friendly person, a genuine gentleman as perhaps only his Sicilian motherland could breed. Some of his closest collaborators knew him as "il gattopardo" ("the leopard") because he evoked the astronomer and prince of Lampedusa in the famous novel by Tomasi di Lampedusa.
He will be sorely missed. Enticed by new ideas, he made it his priority to support young scientists. We are the living testimony of his legacy. Daino is survived by his wife Miranda and by his three sons Stefano, Giorgio and Alessandro.
—Bruno Crosignani, Eugenio DelRe