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Richard G. Smith, LEOS President in 1981, died at his home in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, on 27 December, 2004. He will be remembered in the research community for his many important contributions in the areas of solid-state lasers, lightwave receivers and other lightwave subsystems. His many friends remember “Dick” for his leadership abilities, his mentoring skills, and for encouraging and partnering with his colleagues to push the limits of new technologies.
He was born in Flint, Michigan in 1937 but spent most of his early life in Glendora, California. Dick attended Stanford University where he received the BS, MS, and PhD degrees, all in Electrical Engineering, in 1958, 1959, and 1963. After graduation, he joined Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey, where he worked on theoretical and practical aspects of solid-state lasers, particularly Nd:YAG lasers, optical second-harmonic generation, and optical parametric oscillators. From 1968 to 1982, he supervised groups responsible for the development of non-linear optical devices, Si and InGaAs photodetectors (including APDs), and lightwave receivers using these devices. These receivers were used in the AT&T trials in Atlanta, Georgia, and Chicago, Illinois, where live network traffic was carried over fiber-optic cables for the first time. Subsequent developments from his group were used in the first undersea cable systems and high-speed terrestrial trunks.
In 1982, Dick became Head of the Lightwave Transmitter Department in Bell Labs in Allentown, Pennsylvania, responsible for the development of lightwave transmitters for the first trans-Atlantic undersea fiber-optic system and the digitization of the AT&T network. In 1987 he became Director of the Lightwave Devices Laboratory in Murray Hill, and in 1989 he became the Director of the Lightwave Subsystems Laboratory in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania. From 1990 until he retired from Bell Labs in 1993, he was Director of Market Management responsible for strategic marketing and providing guidance on technology directions for the AT&T Lightwave Business Unit.
After retiring from Bell Labs, Dick consulted on lightwave detectors and receivers for Lucent Technologies and General Dynamics. From 2000 to 2002 he served as Chief Scientist for Cenix, a start-up company in the Allentown area.
Among his professional honors, Dick was a Life Fellow of IEEE and a Fellow of the Optical Society of America for his contributions in solid-state lasers and non-linear optical devices. He was the President of LEOS (then the IEEE Quantum Electronics and Applications Society - QEAS) in 1981. He was also active with the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, being Chairman in 1980 and Steering Committee Chair in 1981. He received the IEEE Centennial Medal in 1984 and the IEEE Third Millennium Medal in 2000, and, along with IEEE, was a member of the Optical Society of America, the American Physical Society, Phi Beta Kappa, and Tau Beta Pi.
Dick is survived by his wife, Carol, of Center Valley, three children and two grandchildren. Dick will also be greatly missed by his many friends, but his contributions continue on in products and systems in service around the world. Contributions in memory of Dick Smith can be made to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, 1111 Stewart Ave. Bethpage N.Y. 11714.



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