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In memoriam: Optics educator John Love

12 July 2016

Optics educator John Love, author of the widely used textbook, Optical Waveguide Theory, died 19 June in Canberra, Australia. He was 73.

Love was an emeritus professor of guided-wave photonics at Australian National University (ANU) where he had recently donated more than $1 million to endow six annual scholarships.

He joined ANU in 1973 and spent the next 40+ years as a teacher, mentor, and organizer of conferences and workshops for optics and photonics. He was a frequent presenter at optics workshops and conferences, including the Education and Training in Optics and Photonics (ETOP) conference and the Australian Conference on Optical Fibre Technology (ACOFT).

Love was also a cofounder of Modular Photonics in Sydney, a company that specializes in glass micro-chip fabrication such as broadband mode multiplexers for space-division multiplexing applications, including within data centers.

In an interview several years ago, Love said he had never heard of fiber optics until moving to Australia in 1973. Noting that more than 95% of the world's communications go through optical fiber today, he said the timing of his entry into photonics was "fortuitous."

In 1989, Love established the first undergraduate half-course in fiber optics at ANU, which has since expanded into two full courses covering optical fiber communications systems and the applications of fiber optics in wide range of other disciplines.

A Life Member of the Australian Optical Society and recipient of the prestigious AOS award, Love developed a "global fan club" through his tireless mentoring of academics around the world, according to Hans Bachor, emeritus professor of optics.

Love had masters' and doctoral degrees in applied mathematics from Cambridge and Oxford Universities in England.

A public memorial will be held at 10:30 am 17 August at ANU.