Britton Chance dies; SPIE honors him with biomedical optics award

Dec. 7, 2010
Bellingham, WA--SPIE has announced the establishment of a new award for biomedical optics honoring researcher Britton Chance, who died last month at the age of 97.

Bellingham, WA--SPIE has announced the establishment of a new award for biomedical optics honoring researcher Britton Chance, who died last month at the age of 97. The first Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award will be presented at SPIE Photonics West in 2012.

The award will be presented annually to recognize outstanding contributions to the field of biomedical optics through the development of innovative, high-impact biophotonic technologies. In particular, the award will acknowledge pioneering contributions to biophotonic methods and devices that have significant promise to accelerate or have already facilitated new discoveries in biology or medicine, and will target achievements that span disciplines and may include elements of basic research, technology development, and clinical translation.

"Brit Chance's research, training, and leadership have helped fuel the growth of biomedical optics and biophotonics throughout the world," said Bruce Tromberg, Director of the Beckman Laser Institute at the University of California, Irvine, and a longtime colleague of Chance. "His lifelong passion for measuring and understanding physiology and metabolism using light has inspired our community for decades. More than any other individual, Brit brought together people and ideas that spanned across disciplines, creating a special spirit of creativity, innovation, and enthusiasm that has characterized the field of biomedical optics," Tromberg said.

Chance died on 16 November. He was the Eldridge Reeves Johnson Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Biophysics, and Professor Emeritus of Physical Chemistry and Radiological Physics at the School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). Chance obtained two PhDs, one in physical chemistry at Penn in 1940, and one in biology/physiology at Cambridge University in 1942. Chance pioneered the field of biomedical optics, making important contributions in a number of areas. He helped in the identification of and functioning of enzyme-substrate compounds and made advancements in breast cancer diagnostics, RF electronics, spectroscopy as a noninvasive analytical tool for clinical diagnosis, and other areas.

A tribute booklet honoring Chance will be presented at the BiOS Hot Topics session during SPIE Photonics West, Saturday 22 January, 2011.


Posted by:Gail Overton

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