Columbia Optical Society of America (OSA) and the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE) student chapter is a student-run organization at Columbia University, located in the heart of NYC. Our organization is involved in enriching the development of students working in optics research. We participate in a number of community outreach events to promote education of the real-world applications of optical engineering and science. Sponsored by the OSA and SPIE organizations, as well as the Columbia Electrical Engineering Department our student members enjoy a variety of professional networking events through a rich slate of lecturers and field trips. We heartily welcome new collaborations with industry members and professional leaders.

Recent Events:

10/1/2016 and 10/2/2016

Columbia OSA/SPIE Chapter presented three demos in New York Maker Faire; they are Laser Maze, Laser Harp and Heart Rate Monitored by Bio-opitcal Device Project. We hit a great success!!! Visitors were waiting in line to participate; kids and young teenagers were crazy about our demos and really got educated on optics and engineering after chatting with us. Many parents gave us much compliment with gratitude and we also got invitation from other Maker Faire organizer to present our booth in their event! Find more photos by clicking HERE.


Autumn Optics Carnival- Demo virtual reality, improved Laser Maze, and ice cream, engaging Columbia students in optics. Started noon Sep 15th at EE student lounge(Mudd 13th floor).


Welcome Bronx PS 279 to have an educational lab tour at Columbia Lightwave Research Lab.


Our chapter's optical demos, The School at Columbia, was presented at Imagine the Future 2016 Science and Engineering Expo.


Our chapter attended United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum for International Year of Light at United Nations.


Our Student Chapter host regular social activities that provide food and beverages for student members get together and extend their social networks.

09/2015 New York Maker Faire

Our project is an interactive laser maze experience, targeted for all ages, but young people will especially enjoy it. The idea is for the participants to enter a darkened area, and make their way through the area, retrieving several lions, and only hitting the laser beams a said number of times. We have tuned the game to have certain levels, and the difficulty level can be adjusted based on the participant. What we will bring to the exhibit are the lasers (low grade), prototype platforms programmed to move said lasers, the boards to create the enclosure, the stuffed lion animals for the participants to retrieve, and the personal computer with necessary interface connections to power the prototype boards. We will have explanation sheets about the science behind the exhibit, as well as information about optics at Columbia University. The purpose of this project is to elicit excitement for people in science, especially in optics.


Our student chapter participated in Engineering Explorations in collaboration with the University’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. We taught 2 sessions of the Lasers and JELLO demo to girls from in and around New York City, ages 7th-­‐9th grade.


We hosted Dr. Philip Stahl for a lecture entitled: “James Webb Space Telescope: The First Light Machine.” We have over 40 people attended this lecture.


The student chapter participated in Girls Science Day at Columbia University – collaborating with the Columbia chapter of Women in Science(WiSc) to present a demo/experiment called “JellO and Lasers”


We hosted Dr. Michael Larson for a lecture entitled: "Starting your Own technologγ Company: Dos, Don'ts and Doubts." More than 30 people attended with a raffle for a Khet game after the lecture.