UMBC Watch

“Anthony Johnson is an extraordinary educator and researcher. Having him as a role model leading our research efforts in optics and photonics will yield exciting new ideas in the lab and classroom.”

— President Freeman A. Hrabowski, III


World-Class Researcher Heads Photonics Center at UMBC


December 8, 2003–UMBC continues to build on its expertise in optical fiber communications, optical remote sensing, and quantum optics with the appointment of Dr. Anthony M. Johnson, a leading researcher in the field of high-speed optics, as the new director of UMBC’s Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research (CASPR).

Created in 2002 with funding from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, CASPR brings together research being conducted by a core group of UMBC faculty in computer science and electrical engineering, physics, mathematics and statistics, and chemical and biochemical engineering. In addition to projects with direct application to current and future Goddard missions, CASPR will assist university researchers and businesses in exploring and developing joint commercial applications of new technology.

UMBC is one of the leading recipients of NASA funding among colleges and universities, currently ranking 16th nationally. In addition to CASPR, NASA Goddard supports UMBC’s Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology (GEST) Center, the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET), and the Center for Astrophysics, as well as many individual faculty research projects.

CASPR Director Johnson comes to UMBC from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, where he was Chair of the Physics Department, Foundation Professor of Optics and Photonics, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Distinguished Professor of Physics. Johnson also brings a 14-year industrial research background; he was a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories’ Photonic Circuits Research Department in Holmdel, NJ. Upon his faculty appointment in the Departments of Physics and Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at UMBC, Johnson was named a 2003-04 recipient
of the Wilson H. Elkins Professorship, an honor given to only a handful of outstanding scholars by the University System of Maryland.

Johnson is a Fellow and member of the Board of Directors of the Optical Society of America and served as President in 2002. He also is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Society of Black Physicists. Johnson was editor-in-chief of Optics Letters, and he holds four U.S. patents in the field of ultrafast optical and optoelectronic phenomena.
For a profile of Anthony Johnson, see and


UMBC Watch | UMBC Homepage