Teruo Hiruma, past leader of Hamamatsu Photonics, dies at 91

April 9, 2018
He led the company from a small local Japanese TV tube producer to a $1-billion global photonics company.

Teruo Hiruma, honorary chairman and past president of Hamamatsu Photonics (Hamamatsu, Japan), passed away on March 29, at 91 years of age. Affectionately known as TH, he led the company from a small local Japanese TV tube producer to a $1-billion global photonics company. He had a passion for photonics and was constantly challenging engineers to build the perfect detector, but he also had a passion for humanity and using light to improve the human condition.

In one of his last messages to the company as president, Hiruma wrote: Ever since Hamamatsu Photonics was founded, we've been involved, in one way or another, in what is still unknown and what no one yet knows. Time and again, we've been approached by people asking us to create this or that, and we would all sit down at the plant and put our heads together. On occasion, that process gave rise to successful results. As we continued that approach, our achievement rate grew, and we began putting our ideas into product form. Those of us who have come through that process are now able to say, “An infinite realm exists in what mankind doesn't yet know and has not yet achieved.”

In awarding Hiruma the society's 2006 Visionary Award, SPIE CEO Eugene G. Arthurs noted that Hiruma was recognized for his work in expanding the frontiers of photonics technology and his advocacy for photonics research for the betterment of the human condition, especially in the fields of energy, environment, healthcare, and communications. According the Arthurs, “He has gone way beyond the immediate interests of his company which, consistent with his vision, is strong in these technical areas.”.

Source: Hamamatsu Photonics and SPIE

About the Author

Conard Holton | Editor at Large

Conard Holton has 25 years of science and technology editing and writing experience. He was formerly a staff member and consultant for government agencies such as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and engineering companies such as Bechtel. He joined Laser Focus World in 1997 as senior editor, becoming editor in chief of WDM Solutions, which he founded in 1999. In 2003 he joined Vision Systems Design as editor in chief, while continuing as contributing editor at Laser Focus World. Conard became editor in chief of Laser Focus World in August 2011, a role in which he served through August 2018. He then served as Editor at Large for Laser Focus World and Co-Chair of the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar from August 2018 through January 2022. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, with additional studies at the Colorado School of Mines and Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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