Seppala, a senior optical designer supporting the National Ignition Facility (NIF), received the elevated status in recognition of his contributions to optics research.
In addition to his work on NIF, he was a key contributor to the optical design of the 8.4 meter diameter Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). When operational in 2020 on Cerro Pachon in the Chilean mountains, LSST will be the world's largest light-gathering astronomical telescope. He chaired the OSA optical design technical group in 1990-1992.
The OSA consists of more than 17,000 members from 175 countries, working to promote the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics.