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Looking good at 50: Optical Engineering celebrates a milestone

Kingslake Medal papers are open-access to mark anniversary

24 May 2011

SPIE Journal cover
Remember when ... journals were published exclusively in print? Back in the day, the cover of
SPIE Journal Vol. 1 No. 4 featured illustrations such as this by Harold Sanders, Aerospace Corp.: "Unusual glass components being fabricated for Air Force Space Systems Division by glass blowers at Aerospace Corp."


BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- Half a century after its launch, the SPIE journal Optical Engineering continues to provide a valuable resource to researchers and engineers working in photonics and optical science, engineering, and technology. The journal is publishing its 50th volume in 2011.

In celebration, papers that have earned the Rudolf Kingslake Medal have been made open-access in the SPIE Digital Library, freely available through 2011. Awarded annually since 1974, the medal recognizes the year's most noteworthy original paper to appear in Optical Engineering on the theoretical or experimental aspects of optical engineering. For links to the open-access papers, visit bit.ly/kingslake.

SPIE and its flagship journal were born out of the post-World War II era, when a group of range-tracking and signal-core photography technicians needed a way to connect with one another -- and with applications developers -- around their advances. The Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers, now known as SPIE, was created to meet the need for a professional networking organization.

The first issue of the SPIE Journal was published in 1962. The journal name was changed to Optical Engineering in 1972.

By the 1980s, the journal had grown to the largest circulation in its field. Its success was attributed to the breadth and importance of the technologies covered as well as the collaboration that the journal facilitated.

Brian Thompson, SPIE Past President and Optical Engineering editor, said its interdisciplinary nature is one of the journal's best assets.

"You don't want to make journals narrow," he said. "I learn so much by browsing through journals, seeing something I wouldn't have gone to look at otherwise. It causes you to see the integration of the discipline."

The booming interest in biomedical optics, nanophotonics, photovoltaics, and other areas has spawned offshoot SPIE journals in these fields. Optical Engineering remains a publishing destination for newly emerging technologies and applications, as well as the classic areas of research and applications in optical engineering.

Recent issues of Optical Engineering have included special sections highlighting topics of significant novelty and interest, including quantum and interband cascade lasers (November 2010) and infrared detectors (June 2011). The success of these collections is setting a new standard of excellence for the journal under the current editor, Ronald Driggers.

Optical Engineering articles are among more than 300,000 papers in the SPIE Digital Library, the world's largest collection of optics and photonics literature. More than 18,000 new articles and 20 new e-books are expected to be added this year.

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 180,000 constituents from 168 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific. SPIE provided over $2.3 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2010.

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Media Contact:

Amy Nelson
Public Relations Manager
amy@spie.org
Tel: +1 360 685 5478

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