Day, Gordon

2011 Distinguished Alumni Award

For research contributions and leadership in metrology for the optoelectronics industry and service to the electrical engineering profession.

Gordon Day

Gordon Day

BSEE '66, MSEE '67, PhD '70

National Institute of Standards and Technology

Boulder, Colorado

Gordon Day spent most of his career in research and management at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Boulder, where he founded and led the Optoelectronics Division. He helped develop absolute laser frequency measurements that led to a dramatically improved value for the speed of light and ultimately to a new definition for the fundamental unit of length, the meter. The optical fiber standards he helped develop have been used to specify the properties of most of the fiber currently deployed around the world.

Since leaving NIST in 2003, he has focused primarily on science and technology policy. He has served as science adviser to Senator Jay Rockefeller and as Director of Government Relations for the Optoelectronics Industry Development Association.

He is currently the president-elect of the IEEE, and will serve as its 50th President in 2012.

He has also been president of the IEEE Photonics Society, a professor adjoint at the University of Colorado, and a professor adjunct at the Colorado School of Mines.

He is a Fellow of IEEE, AAAS, the Optical Society of America (OSA), and the Institute of Physics (UK).