Rod C. Alferness

Rod C. Alferness

Professor Emeritus


Awards of Distinction: 

National Academy of Engineering

Member of : 

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Optical Society of America

Fellow of: 

IEEE Millennium Award, IEEE Photonics Award, OSA Leadership Award, Past President, OSA and IEEE Photonics Society; National Academy of Inventors


Rod C. Alferness joined UCSB Engineering as the dean in 2011 as the former Chief Scientist at Bell Labs, following an accomplished career in optoelectronics and electrical engineering. He retired in fall 2021. 

Alferness is world-renowned for his work on integrated-optic devices and optical switching technology and architecture. His research has been central to the development of global fiber optic communications networks. As Chief Scientist at Bell Labs, he was responsible for strategic directions, technical excellence, and global partnerships - including universities. In a prior role as Senior Vice President of Research, he had overall responsibility for the company's global research laboratories. In his role as Chief Technical Officer for Bell Labs' parent company, Lucent Technologies, Alferness was responsible for transferring the optical technology he worked on to the business units.

Alferness received his MS and PhD in Physics from the University of Michigan. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and of the Optical Society of America (OSA). In 2001, Alferness was the recipient of the IEEE Millennium Award. Alferness received the 2005 IEEE Photonics Award and the 2010 OSA Leadership Award. He has served as President of the OSA and of the IEEE Photonics Society. He is the author of more than 100 journal articles and holds more than 30 patents for his work in optoelectronics and optical networks. In 2018, he was selected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, and received the OSA's highest honor, theFrederic Ives Medal / Jarus Quinn Prize.


PhD Physics, University of Michigan
MS Physics, University of Michigan