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In memoriam: Guoguang Mu, applied optics pioneer

20 April 2012

Guoguang Mu, one of the early pioneers of optics, applied optics, and optical instrumentation in China, died on 12 April at the age of 81.

Mu made distinguished contributions to white light information processing, and designed many novel optical instruments. He also introduced important concepts and technologies in pattern recognition, color image coding and decoding, and color photography. He published more than 100 scientific research papers on internationally renowned optical journals and owned two patents. He received three national scientific and technological prizes and the Ho Leung Ho Lee Prize for exceptional Chinese scientists.

Guoguang Mu was born in Jinxi now Hu Lu Dao City), Liao Ning Province, in 1931. He graduated from the Physics Department of Nankai University in 1952. From 1986 to 1995, he was president of Nankai University. From 1993 to 2005, he was the president of the Chinese Optical Society (COS). In 1991, he was elected a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). In 1994, he was elected as a fellow of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World. Guoguang Mu was a fellow of SPIE, OSA, and also served as vice president of the International Commission for Optics.

His influence on Chinese optical teaching and research included the book "Optics" that he and Yuan Lin Zhan wrote and compiled in 1964. It was the first classical fundamental book for optical physics, and has been a commonly used textbook for undergraduate students with a pervasive influence on Chinese optical teaching. When he was the president of COS, he actively promoted the academic exchanges between the Chinese Optical Society and many international optical societies, including SPIE.

SPIE Executive Director Eugene Arthurs expressed the condolences of Society membership. "Professor Mu was a highly respected international figure in optics, both for his research and leadership accomplishments," he said. "He also made valuable contributions to the global optics community with SPIE and ICO."