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Photonics visionary Späth to be honoured at SPIE Europe Optical Metrology congress

30 April 2009

CARDIFF, Wales, UK -- Prof. Dr. h. c. Lothar Späth will be honoured with the SPIE Visionary Award at the SPIE Europe Optical Metrology congress in Munich, Germany, in June. The award is being made in recognition of his crucial support for photonics in the optical centre of JLothar Späthena.

Späth was Chairman of Jenoptik AG when it was established in 1991 as the legal successor to the previously publicly owned (VEB) Carl Zeiss Jena. He had been charged with closing down the historic operation, but saw the industry's potential in the area, and instead reorganized and expanded the optical engineering company, transforming it into a public company listed in 1998.

Jenoptik's success and the restructuring of today's Carl Zeiss Jena helped revitalize the optics industry throughout the region. As a result, Jena, once the cradle of optical technology where Zeiss, Schott, and Abbe established a science- and technology-based industry from what had been essentially a craft, has since reclaimed its role as a innovative centre for optics.

Späth had previously served as Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg, and later as the Norwegian Consul General for Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt as well as President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of East Thuringia. After leaving Jenoptik, he hosted "Späth am Abend" on the German TV station n-tv, a popular interview and commentary programme concerned with economics and politics. This was followed by a weekly broadcast "Späth zur Woche" on the same station, commenting on current politics. He serves on the boards of several corporations, and has authored several books on political, media, and economic topics. He has received several honorary doctorships and other awards including the J. McCloy Award from the American Council on Germany.

The SPIE Visionary Award will be presented on Monday 15 June at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre.

SPIE Europe Optical Metrology will run 15-18 June and will be co-located with World of Photonics 2009. SPIE Europe is one of eight partners providing technical conferences as part of the biennial event whith also includes the Laser World of Photonics exhibition. The European Optical Society (EOS) and German Scientific Laser Society (WLT) are participating as Cooperating Organisations of SPIE Europe Optical Metrology.

Technical sessions will cover the latest solutions to practical problems in industrial design and production engineering, including recent advances in using optical technologies to preserve cultural heritage in art and architecture. Researchers will describe application of optical principles of measurement and testing in the micro- and nanoscales to the forefront of optical metrology.

Chairs of the Optical Metrology congress are Wolfgang Osten, Universität Stuttgart, Germany; Malgorzata Kujawinska, Politechnika Warszawska, Poland; and Pietro Ferraro, Istituto Nazionale di Ottica Applicata, Italy. See the event website for registration and other information: spie.org/optical-metrology.xml.

SPIE Europe, headquartered in Cardiff, UK, is a European-based extension of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, which was founded in 1955 as an educational not-for-profit professional society advancing light-based technologies. SPIE Europe annually presents several events with conferences, exhibitions, courses and workshops as well as other membership, educational and industry forums. These activities catalyze collaboration among technical disciplines and promote the advancement of science, information exchange, continuing education, publishing opportunities, patent precedent and career and professional growth. In 2008, the Society provided $1.9 million for scholarships, grants and other activities supporting research and education around the world. For more information about SPIE Europe and SPIE, visit SPIE.org.

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Media contact:
Amy Nelson, Public Relations Manager
+44 (0) 29 2089 4747
amy@spieeurope.org