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Fellows Profile
By Tom Godfrey, OSSC Historian

-Roland C. Hawes-

(04 Oct 1908 - 12 Jan 1999)


Roland Hawes was one of the founding members and an organizer of the Optical Society of Southern California in 1951, according to OSSC Fellow Al Shurkus, who was vice-president when Roland was our president.  Al remembers "Rollie" participating in the first organizational meetings.


Roland became our President in 1956, and was elected an OSSC Fellow in 1989.  During his remarkable career Roland authored 32 technical papers and 17 U.S. Patents.


Roland was born Oct. 4, 1908 in Riverside, California.  He attended California Institute of Technology and earned a BS in Chemistry in 1930.  OSSC's first President Howard Cary was a classmate at Cal Tech.  After graduation, Roland was a Research Chemist at Cutter Labs in Berkeley (1930-36) and in the Labs of Dr. George Piness in Los Angeles (1936-43); he became the Director in 1941.  With Dr. Gordon Alles, he discovered a chemical in blood cells related to allergy, and studied the influence of histaminase on allergy.


In 1943 he came to work with Arnold O. Beckman and H. Howard Cary at Beckman Instruments, then known as National Technical Laboratories in Pasadena.  There he designed the Beckman Chlorine Analyzer - Colorimeter, the Model K Auto-titrator, the Model DUR Recording Spectrophotometer, Model B Manual Spectrophotometer (with Wm. Miller), the Models IR-2 & IR-3 Infrared Spectrophotometers (with Kenyon George, Glen Madsen, et. al.), the Model RXG Pico-ammeter, radiation safety instruments, and the Ultrohmeter.


In 1950, Roland joined Applied Physics Corporation in Pasadena, which later became Cary Instruments in Monrovia.  With OSSC Fellows H. Howard Cary and Michael E Stickney and others, he helped design instruments such as the Cary 14 spectrophotometer, the models 81 & 81L Raman Spectrophotometers, the Model 60 Spectropolarimeter, the Cary-White Model 90 Infrared Spectrophotometer, the Model 31 Vibrating Reed Electrometer.  He was first Chief Engineer (1950-56); then Vice-President of R&D (1956-69); finally Life Science Research Director (1969-72).  He also studied laser excitation of the Raman effect and photon counting in photometry.  In the mid-1960's Varian bought Cary Instruments and Roland was transferred to Palo Alto with Dennis Paull, Ahamad Abushamays and others.  Roland retired from Cary Instruments Division of Varian Associates in 1972.


Mr. Hawes then consulted in analytical instrumentation design for many years.  He was a member of the Board of Directors and an Officer of Western Map Co. in Glendale (1959-74), and Carle Instruments in Fullerton (1963-77).  He worked as a volunteer for the City of Hope Medical Center, Biomedical Instrumentation Services (1973-83).


Roland is a life member of the Caltech Alumni Association, Tau Beta Pi, Pi Alpha Tau, American Chemical Society, The LA Electronics Club, Instrument Society of America (Southern California Section Chairman 1949-50), Optical Society of America (OSSC Chairman 1956-57, OSSC Fellow 1990), Society for Applied Spectroscopy (local section chairman, 1959-60), IEEE (San Gabriel Valley Section), Western Spectroscopy Assn. (Chairman, 1961), Amer. Soc. for Testing & Materials, Scientific Apparatus Manufacturer’s Assn., several local Dixieland Jazz Clubs, and the Foothills Dance Club.  He was also active in Monrovia school, political, and civic activities.


Roland Hawes and Edna M. Sullivan were married for over 60 years.  They had one daughter, Katherine (Mrs. David) Miller of Seaside, CA, and four grandchildren.  After Edna's death in 1984, Roland married Mary Williams, the widow of a Cary Instruments engineer on February 7, 1987.  Mary and Roland Hawes resided in Glendora, near Mary's daughter, Colleen Jackson.  Roland Hawes died in January 1999.

Corporate Address:  14271 Jeffrey Road, Suite 136
Irvine, California 92620
The OSSC is a non-profit 501(C)3 tax exempt corporation.
The OSSC does NOT endorse candidates for public office or contribute to political candidates or campaigns.

Updated: 20 October 2019
Added 13  November OSSC Meeting