I have been in optics all of my professional life. I received my bachelor's degree in optics from the University of Rochester, and my PhD in optics from the University of Arizona. My dissertation research was on measurement of image quality in infrared focal planes, under the guidance of Eustace Dereniak. After graduate school, I spent 27 years at University of Central Florida/CREOL, where I supervised 24 doctoral students to completion - mainly in research areas related to IR optics and sensors. In 2011, I moved to University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where I serve as Chairman of the Department of Physics & Optical Science. I have held visiting research positions in the US at Texas Instruments, ITT, McDonnell Douglas, and Night Vision Labs. I have also had significant international collaborations, with extended research visits at Imperial College in London, ETH in Zurich, Universidad Complutense in Madrid, and the Swedish Defence Research Agency in Linkoping.
In 2010, I co-founded a technology start-up, Plasmonics, Inc., in Orlando FL, with two of my PhD graduates (David Shelton and James Ginn), with the goal of commercializing various technologies developed in my university research laboratory over the years, including antenna-coupled IR sensors and IR frequency-selective surfaces. I have served 18 years in editorial positions for the OSA, including six years as editor-in-chief of Applied Optics. I am currently deputy editor for Optics Express. Since becoming a Student Member in graduate school, I have been actively involved in SPIE. I served three years on the Board of Directors, served on a variety of committees involved with publications and education, and have taught short courses since 1987 in IR Systems, Modulation Transfer Function, and Basic Optics for Engineers.
Optics is a discipline that often interfaces with other technical areas - including electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, biomedical engineering, and nanotechnology. However, it is critically important to recognize optics and photonics as a distinct discipline, with its own unique educational foundations. SPIE plays a critical role in advancing this recognition.
SPIE promotes the careers of optical scientists and engineers through two main activities - the dissemination of information by means of conferences and proceedings; and by providing networking opportunities to conference attendees. I have always told my students that there is as much going on in the halls as in the meeting rooms, and to take advantage of the opportunities to get to know others working in the field from across the globe. Many of my long-term friendships with overseas colleagues have had their origins in SPIE meetings.
We need to identify ways to encourage participation of Student and Early-Career Members in SPIE activities and programs, as the long-term health of our Society depends on the success of this outreach. It is critical to continue expanding our international membership and our relationships with other international technical societies, especially in those geographic regions that have lower representation in SPIE. This will strengthen SPIE presence in these areas, and increase our service to the regional industries and technical communities.
Cutbacks in government funding for conferences and continuing education, both in the U.S. and in Europe, stand to have significant impact on the viability of some of our meetings. We must find creative ways to continue to serve our membership in the face of these new economic realities. Additional challenges arise in responding to the new models for distribution of scientific information. These issues will require ongoing attention from SPIE, given the centrality of the publication function to the overall mission of our Society.
I believe that SPIE has played a very important role for the international technical community as the premier provider of education, information, and resources of knowledge in optics and photonics. In 1994, I had the privilege to serve the Society as a general secretary of the 21st International Congress on High Speed Photography and Photonics in Daejeon, Korea. I have also worked as a member of the organizing committees for international conferences such as ICO, OECC, APOC, NFO, and CLEO-Pacific Rim and successfully organized APNFO and NBSIS conferences as a General Chair. During the conferences, where many companies were invited for the exhibitions, I was able to watch how optics and photonics industries have grown in the world by meeting the participants from small and large companies.
For several years I have served as a member of SPIE committees including ESTeP, Symposia, Education, Asian Advisory, Publication, and Nominating, and as an Appointed Director of SPIE in 2005 and 2007 and Director in 2012-2014. Serving on these committees has given me insight on the function of SPIE. I have also realized that it has strongly supported optics communities in many different countries within Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa, which have enhanced SPIE's international reach.
I would especially like to further promote the three following areas:
• Finding regional key leaders, key organizations, and newly created promising companies. We should identify, make connections, and maintain an open dialog with regional key leaders, organizations, and companies in Asia-Europe-Africa-Australia-South/North America to enhance the world-wide key leader networks. In particular, we should find potential companies at their early age, help them grow, and make them become a key partner of SPIE.
• Expanding and supporting student activities. We should continue to actively recruit larger number of students and chapters, provide appropriate support to improve communication between SPIE and the students, and offer information and resources they need to become an expert in optics and photonics for creating a better global society. SPIE should provide more opportunities for the young scientists to learn fundamental concepts of optics, designing the system, organizing the team, generating a successful product, and help them become a leader of an organization.
• Creating new workshops and conferences in the area of emerging interdisciplinary research. We should ensure that we can create and disassemble both small workshops and larger conferences after evaluation so that emerging interdisciplinary research areas come to the forefront. We should also make SPIE core conferences sustainable based on global leadership and world-wide leader connections. In addition, we should make our conferences the best global match-making place for the companies, organizations, and students.
In today's global competition, the ability to create the innovative technology directly determines the fate of the companies and organizations. I certainly believe that optics and photonics will be the core technology to keep this competitiveness and play a much more important role in advancing the cutting-edge technologies and creating the future industries and markets. Therefore, I would like to put my every effort to inspire the public and communities around the world the increasingly important role of optics and technology in our daily life and continue working toward a brighter future.
Almost forty years ago I was introduced to the field of optics and photonics. I was not an engineer nor a scientist but rather a marketing person by formal education. I recall how amazed I was that day as I stood in one of the premier research labs of Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey, hearing a scientist tell me why his work in ultrafast lasers would one day be important.
This set me on a course that has been a very enlightening and fulfilling career in the field of photonics.
From the very beginning I realized that there was a significant chasm to be bridged in our society. On one side there were the technologists, scientists and engineers who understood the potential optics and photonics would have on our society and on the other side the rest of society who had no technical background or as many of my own family would say (when I shared my work with them) "the rest of the world."
SPIE has done an outstanding job of connecting the academic community with a broad range of professional engineers and other technologists through its meetings, publications and other programs. I believe the great challenge in front of us is to bring a greater awareness of the power of photonics to the masses.
Much has been written about the importance of STEM and how this can have an impact on America's competitive position in the world. SPIE can play an important role in raising awareness, and creating an environment which appeals to our youth and motivates more of them to pursue careers in photonics related technologies.
Over the thirty nine years I have spent in the photonics industry, I have had the opportunity to hire, mentor and help so many people find knowledge, reward and enjoyment in this exciting field at the same time as I learned and grew.
I have been a salesman, marketer, general manager, and executive officer and as an executive of Newport Corporation have often needed to explain photonics from a business perspective to professionals who have no technical background at all. None the less, whether they understood the technology or not, there was always an excitement and intrigue about the possibilities photonics holds for our future.
While most of society takes for granted the simple pleasures of mobile smart phones, the internet, home electronics, or the cars they drive, few understand that these pleasures would not exist if not for photonics. It is very important that we continue to excite and educate more people of the potential of photonics. In doing so, I would hope that more funding will also follow allowing the continued adoption and proliferation of photonics enabled technologies.
I am a Senior Member of SPIE. I have been a member of the SPIE Financial Advisory Committee for almost 7 years and have worked closely with many of the SPIE team for more than 20 years. Combined with my experience as a photonics industry executive I am hopeful we can accelerate the awakening of the masses to photonics.
Looking back, it's hard for me to believe, but I attended my first SPIE conference 25 years ago this August. As an undergraduate student, SPIE invited me to attend their annual meeting in San Diego where I was awarded the D.J. Lovell Scholarship. This was a life changing experience that helped shape my current career in optics. I had the opportunity to meet and interact with an amazing group of people (including two very well-known lens designers, Warren Smith and Bob Fischer). I remember thinking "I want to be one of them" and now 25 years later, I'm an active SPIE Fellow, I teach optical design short courses for SPIE (just like Warren and Bob did), and I participate on the SPIE Scholarship Committee as well as the William Price and Kidger optical design and engineering scholarship committees. I make it a point to attend at least 2-3 SPIE conferences per year regardless of my current workload and I'm never disappointed. Each conference is a great opportunity for professional development and networking with both business professionals and academics. At every opportunity I encourage my students to attend these conferences to meet new people and find a mentor and/or inspiration for their future. I would be honored to be elected to serve on the SPIE Board of Directors. I would like to get more involved in both optics education and conference planning and the overall conference "experience" (including finding new ways to get students involved early with SPIE as I have first-hand experience with how life changing this can be).
Thirty years ago, as an undergraduate student, SPIE gave me my start in optics by allowing me to attend their Annual Meeting (now SPIE Optics + Photonics) for free. The combination of attending talks and short courses, meeting faculty from the Optical Sciences Center, and then visiting the University of Arizona convinced me that a career in optics was the next step in my career. SPIE has been my partner the entire time. At first they were there with conferences, proceedings, short courses, and journals that provided me access to the research I needed to advance my own projects. Next, they were there as I developed a network of customers and vendors needed to advance the lithography development efforts I have been involved with the last 20 years. Lately I have had the chance to give back to SPIE by serving in many capacities including serving on various standing committees, supporting student development, promoting public policy, and fostering innovation.
Through my involvement with SPIE, I see that the challenges the world faces today are becoming increasingly complex, but we are also finding that photonics will play a much more important and enabling role than ever before. Unlike electronics, a highly visible technology, photonics remains largely hidden to society at large. SPIE's interdisciplinary approach, international commitment, balance between academia and industry, and focus on innovation allow us to take a leadership role in promoting optics as the enabling technology of the 21st century. This promotion is taking many forms within SPIE: creating the narrative to excite interest in photonics careers, to spark legislative activity, to promote an increase in interdisciplinary research and development, to enhance international partnerships, to increase photonics awareness throughout society; creating the mechanisms to co-develop solutions to today's grand challenges including conferences and exhibitions, journals and proceedings, industrial, government, and academic partnerships, training in photonics technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, and supporting the development of accredited academic programs; and supporting altruistic activities including scholarships and educational outreach, training the next generation of photonics practitioners and leaders, providing journal access and UNESCO support for developing nations, and promoting the Women in Optics Network.
If elected to serve on the SPIE Board of Directors I look forward to helping raise the awareness of the importance of photonics technology to our world's future through the National Photonics Initiative and the International Year of Light, and to ensuring that SPIE stays relevant and maintains its leadership role in supporting a thriving photonics industry, an effort that takes constant vigilance. One area I plan to support is striking the right balance to meet the needs of all of our Members and constituents, whether they are from academia, government, or industry; whether they are students, faculty, engineers, scientists, or business leaders; whether they are men or women; wherever they are from. Finally as we identify and penetrate new markets not traditionally served by optics-based technologies, we need to be sure that the global photonics community is prepared to respond appropriately to new stakeholders wholly unfamiliar with what we have to offer. This may take new or expanded initiatives to enhance multi-disciplinary R&D, to develop curricula that promotes cross training, to draw students from non-traditional feeder majors into accredited MS and PhD photonics programs, and to provide cross-training opportunities for those already active in their field.
The National Photonics Initiative and the 2015 International Year of Light represent the beginning of the next stage of development for photonics based technology, a stage where everyone will recognize its importance to our collective future and where photonics will be as recognizable as electronics. I am excited to be a part of this and hope you are too. Together we can make it happen.
It has been an honor and privilege serving as the Society's Secretary/Treasurer over the last 7 years and on the Society's Financial Advisory Committee for the last 16. Through these years the Society has navigated through one severe market downturn and then in 2008 the near collapse of the financial markets yet the Society today is more financially sound than ever and leads the way in our community with a comprehensive program of altruistic activities fulfilling the mission of our Society as a lighthouse for education outreach in the area of optics and photonics worldwide.
The time has come though to make way for a new treasurer with fresh ideas in the areas of financial oversight. My desire is to focus on the other aspects of what makes SPIE such a vibrant society for its constituents by serving on the Board in these transition years.
Straight from the heart, I love working for SPIE and with SPIE staff. It is a privilege to work alongside the SPIE staff and volunteer leadership with the high values each person exhibits in the day to day operations and strategic directions of our Society. I would count it an honor to serve these individuals over the next 3 years to promote a healthy and rewarding culture for our valuable staff at SPIE Headquarters.
Many challenges lie ahead for our Society with globalization, open access, the decline in R&D budgets to name a few. Yet we are not opportunity limited. With the National Photonics Initiative gaining steam and the International Year of Light dawning next year, the world is gaining a new knowledge of the importance of photonics in our everyday life. With this awareness I believe a public faith will grow in the men and women who dedicated their careers to photonics science and engineering to solve the pressing problems of a growing world. This is the faith SPIE already has in it Members and what has made our society so well respected amongst its peers.
My generation of experience as a senior executive in a multinational scientific instrument company provides me with a unique perspective and understanding of global business as well as the diverse cultures of companies and countries. These experiences and skills have been called upon by the SPIE over the last 16 years and I trust with your endorsement will continue to be a valuable resource for the Society as we broaden the educational outreach opportunities of SPIE through its international membership and conferences.
I truly appreciate the progressive, dynamic, responsive, and inclusive culture of SPIE as an organization and am proud to be an SPIE Member. I am grateful for the community of mentors, peers, and friends that SPIE has created for me in my professional career, and I am delighted to contribute to the future of SPIE.
My SPIE involvement started when I was a Student Member. Beyond being active in my student chapters, participating in conferences, and publishing in SPIE journals and proceedings, I engaged early with SPIE by serving as a non-voting Student Member on the Membership Committee. My involvement with SPIE has continued through the years. I continued on the Membership Committee as a voting member, and I served as Chair of the Membership Committee and as a member of the Strategic Planning Committee for 2012-2013. My efforts through the Membership and Strategic Planning Committees have been focused on the value of membership, retention of young members, and facilitation of society involvement for both Members and non-members. SPIE has a significant number of student members; I believe nurturing our future optical scientists and engineers is important and engaging students and early career professionals is critical to their long-term involvement in the society. To this end, I helped initiate the Future Leaders ad hoc Committee, providing students and early career professionals a formal mechanism to voice their ideas for Society engagement and creating a pipeline for our future Society leadership. SPIE should continue to create and facilitate opportunities for involvement for optics professionals through all stages of their careers, spanning student members to retirees.
I continue to be dedicated to the future of SPIE and hope to guide SPIE as a professional society in support of the optics community through conferences, publications, education, technology, research, and public policy.
- I remain committed to assisting SPIE to adapt to the evolving needs of Members and the greater optics community.
- Beyond my involvement on conference program committees, I look forward to advising SPIE on its lifeblood of conferences and publications, encouraging technical diversity and high quality.
- I support SPIE's sustained commitment to and sponsorship of optics education and outreach.
- SPIE is a facilitator of advancements in optics technology and research, and I will promote enhanced interaction between academic, industrial, and government sectors to increase this effort.
- With the National Photonics Initiative and the upcoming International Year of Light, this is a critical time to maintain our efforts to promote optics research, technology, and industry to society and our political leadership.
SPIE has served a major role in my professional career. It would be an honor and a privilege to serve SPIE on the Board of Directors.
I am tremendously honored and excited to be nominated for election to the SPIE Board of Directors. Having worked in the field of optics for over 20 years, I have realized that it has the potential to improve our lives tremendously. The recent explosion of interest and awareness of its importance to the global economy and well-being from the National Photonics Initiative only reinforces that realization. The upcoming International Year of Light in 2015 provides an excellent forum in which to further its exposure.
My emphasis as a member of the Board would be to ensure that SPIE -- and by extension the global photonics community -- is properly positioned to foster the cycle of technical and business innovation needed for planetary-scale needs. I see tremendous benefit in ensuring that information technology (IT) is best exploited to maximize networking and problem solving.
I have been fortunate, as a practicing engineer, to participate in a wide range of SPIE activities. In the past decade, I have contributed as an author, journal editor, committee chair, grant reviewer, and conference organizer. By doing so, I have developed a solid appreciation for the amount of work it takes behind the scenes to make things run smoothly, both by staff and the volunteer leadership.
My career has allowed me to use the resources of as well as contribute to SPIE, spanning optical technology all the way from detailed component-level device physics at the electron level up to large-scale system-level interactions involving solar radiation and the human visual system. This perspective gives me a massive appreciation for the fact that SPIE encompasses unparalleled resources to address technical and networking needs in one place.
Consequently, I have seen that SPIE maintains its pre-eminence as a professional society by combining traditional in-person conference networking and publications with an ever-expanding digital capability for disseminating knowledge as widely as possible. Such capability provides a continually emerging platform for the cornerstones of modern science and engineering: a solid education at all levels combined with multidisciplinary interaction between disparate scientific fields.
To succeed in any endeavor, SPIE must rely on its core strength: a network of Members in all fields of optical science and engineering at all points of their careers. The potential for technology infrastructure to enhance that network is increasing daily. Simply put, proper application of innovation supported by technology can erase boundaries, either real or perceived; the more transparent we can make its operation the more positive the cycle becomes.
By thus focusing on SPIE's dedicated Membership, continual advances in information technology, and its long-view historical perspective, I hope to enable the continuing success of the society in fostering a global presence in the optical and photonics community.
Even during my school days, I had a strong interest for optical phenomena. Consequently, I studied Physics at the Friedrich-Schiller Univiersity in Jena with specialization in coherent optics. I received my PhD in Physics from the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg for a thesis in the field of holographic interferometry.
It was more than 30 years ago that I submitted my first paper to an SPIE conference. In 1983 at the Optica in Budapest I had the opportunity to speak with many respected peers of my special field, coherent optical metrology and imaging, and I learned about the high level of professionalism of SPIE in organizing conferences and disseminating new findings in modern optics to the community. SPIE has been successful over many years in creating an excellent environment, bringing together professionals and academics in key areas of optical science and technologies. In 1990, after the reunification of Germany, I got the wonderful opportunity to become a Member of SPIE. Since that year I have attended SPIE conferences regularly, partly with invited papers, and was invited to join many international program committees of SPIE conferences worldwide. It was and is a wonderful experience to be involved in a strong community with joint commitment and objectives.
In 1999 I had the opportunity to found and to establish my first SPIE conference and this was the beginning of a sustained series "Optical Measurement Systems for Industrial Inspection". Since 2007 I am responsible as Symposium Chair for the SPIE Conferences in "Optical Metrology" on occasion of the International Congress "Laser-World of Photonics" in Munich. Here and in my position as a member of the SPIE European Advisory Committee, I have the opportunity for close cooperation with the SPIE staff and I really appreciate their professional way in organizing international scientific events in optics, in helping young people to establish their own carrier in optics, to disseminate new findings in optics and to promote worldwide education in optics and photonics.
My motivation to run for the position of SPIE Director is very strongly motivated by my excellent experiences within the Society and by my wish to help SPIE even more in promoting optical sciences and education for the community. I am convinced that I can support SPIE in broadening its interdisciplinary profile and in building the bridge between Europe and the other continents much stronger. This can be by creating new chapters and new scientific events, by organizing stimulating discussions for the exchange of information and by convincing the decision makers in industry and politics to increase the support for the photonic technologies as key technologies for our current and future economy.
In 2015 we will celebrate the International Year of the light. Thus we all have a unique opportunity to promote optics in many senses and to strengthen the position of optics in the community in a general way, but especially with the objective to create a better climate for the cooperation between industry and academia for an improved technology transfer in our field.
Most of all, we need enthusiastic and capable young people. From my position as a university teacher I will bring my long term experience in teaching optics for the development of SPIE educational programs and for the foundation of new student chapters. Especially in Europe there is a high potential for new chapters, but this is also valid on an international scale.
To continue to serve SPIE, particularly to contribute into these critical areas - youth, interdisciplinary, technology transfer, and internationalism - would be both an honor and a pleasure for me. I look forward to the potential opportunity of serving my colleagues through membership on the SPIE Board of Directors. As a Board Member, I would work towards identifying realistic near- and far-term goals for continuous improvement and change in all SPIE Member services. Just today, it is of great impoprtance that we make every effort to communicate the benefits of international scientific collaboration, while working to overcome obstacles that cause difficulties in international communication and cooperation.
The SPIE mission statement is "To advance light based research for the betterment of the human condition." To me this is a fantastic sentiment, and really represents one of the reasons that I have deep satisfaction both with my chosen career and in my continuing involvement with SPIE.
I am both pleased and honored to be a candidate for a seat on the SPIE Board of Directors. I feel that with my background, working in optics and living in four different countries in the last 20 years, I can offer the SPIE Board and community both an interesting international perspective and that of one of the "new crop" of mid-career professionals.
My serious interest in optics began in the late 80's, when, as a teenager, I learned how to make telescope mirrors. In the space of several years I made a number of interesting amateur astronomical telescopes, including an 8" f/11 reflecting binocular and a 22" f/8 Newtonian. This was a pivotal period in my life. In the six years from the beginning of my interest in optics I went from being a kid who had dropped out of school at the age of 14, to having a bachelor's degree in physics, planning to enroll in an M.Sc. program, and already aspiring to become a professional "optics guy". Key to this, quite radical, life change was the assistance and encouragement I received from a mentor; a retired optics professional.
Since that time I've had an interesting and diverse career working on a number of the world's major astronomical optics projects, and am currently supporting the development effort for the E-ELT, which will be the world's largest ground based optical and near-infrared telescope.
As a Board Member of SPIE I would work on the further development of youth programs; in particular looking at means of connecting the wisdom and experience of Senior and Fellow Members with the bright and enthusiastic newcomers in the SPIE Student Chapters.
As a New Zealander who has worked primarily in areas related to astronomical telescopes and instrumentation while living in New Zealand, Australia, the USA, and now Germany, my experience with SPIE is that it is a professional society that is always relevant. If I am to participate as a Board Member then a particular emphasis of mine will be to continue to enhance this internationalism.
Throughout my career in optics I have valued and benefitted from my relationship with SPIE. I have been a Member continuously since 2001, and was pleased to become a Senior Member in 2010. As a major beneficiary of the SPIE scholarship program I am truly grateful for the assistance those prizes have given my career.
The SPIE Astronomy conference and Optics + Photonics are major events on my calendar. The networking opportunities and cross-pollination of ideas that occurs at these events are invaluable to me. I think the whole idea of a professional society for optics that crosses national borders, reaching out to the global community of optics professionals, is an admirable one, and I am glad to remain an active member of the SPIE community.
The SPIE Member who is today considering a vote for new Directors is in a privileged position. SPIE as an organization is prospering, and expanding, particularly in countries with developing economies. SPIE conferences are well attended, are organized and conducted to a very high standard, and are a highlight in many professional's calendars. The international growth in the optical technology fields covered by SPIE Members continues along its predicted stellar trajectory. From my perspective, the role of a new Director will be to maintain and build on past success.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, if you are interested in more detailed biographical information, please feel free to read my profile page at SPIE.org: (http://spie.org/profile/Andrew.Rakich-36187).
Imagine a barren wasteland bereft of any knowledge of the science and engineering of optics and photonics. Let's keep the SPIE juggernaut flowing and growing. SPIE's future should remain as a leading world-class international professional society.
As a small business owner and entrepreneur, I am very humbled by this nomination to serve the community on the SPIE Board. My focus in volunteer service has been on practical solutions that match the desired intent. My statement is a simple promise to keep the great engine of SPIE up-to-date and moving forward in the fast-paced technological world