Photo credits: AIP Emilio Segre Visual Archives/Physics Today Collection
Anthony M. Johnson (pictured) was born on May 23, 1954, in Brooklyn, New York, to James W. Johnson and Helen Y. Johnson.
Until he was introduced to physics by a teacher at Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn, New York, he intended to major in mathematics or chemistry in college. Johnson earned a Bachelor of Science in physics from the Polytechnic Institute of New York in 1975, graduating with honors. He earned his Ph.D. in physics from the City College of New York in 1981. Johnson completed his dissertation at Murray Hill, New Jersey, at Bell Laboratories. The Bell Labs Cooperative Research Fellowship Program assisted him in completing his dissertation.
After graduating, Johnson joined the Quantum Physics and Electronics Research Department’s technical staff at Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey. Johnson was promoted to the position of distinguished member of the technical staff at Bell Labs in 1988, and he joined the Photonic Circuits Research Department in 1990. In 1995, Johnson became chairman, distinguished professor of applied physics, and professor of electrical and computer engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. In 2003, Johnson was appointed as Director of the Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research (CASPR). Most of his research at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC) is on ultrafast optics and optoelectronics.
Johnson is the author of two book chapters, more than seventy scholarly papers, and four U.S. patents. He was also the editor-in-chief of the journal Optics Letters from 1995 to 2001. Between 1991 and 2000, the Optical Society of America (OSA), the American Physical Society (APS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) named Johnson a Fellow (IEEE). In 1992, he joined the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) as a founding member. Johnson received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Polytechnic University in 1993 and the Black Engineer of the Year Special Recognition Award in 1994. In 1996, Johnson was awarded the Edward A. Bouchet Award by the American Physical Society. In 2002, Johnson was chosen for the first time as president of the Optical Society of America.
Dr. Adrienne S. Johnson is Johnson’s wife. The couple’s three adult children are named Kimberly, Justin, and Brandon.