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

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

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IMAGE. SPIE 2006 President Paul McManamon (center) and SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs (right) present the SPIE Visionary Award to Teruo Hiruma of Hamamatsu (left). (Photo courtesy SPIE)

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

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