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Statements from friends and colleagues of Art Guenther

Statement from SPIE Past President Don O'Shea
24 April 2007

Art understood both scientific research and politics and he worked long and hard to assure the support of research in science and engineering going wherever the opportunity presented itself: Washington, Albuquerque, SPIE and OSA meetings, and the International Commission for Optics. His work as a member of SPIE's ESTEP committee for many years helped set the agenda and move the Society's involvement in a range of advocacies.

Art was a traveler and a great one to travel with. At the opening reception of the SPIE's 50th anniversary celebration in San Diego, the Guenthers and O'Sheas decided to go on a Lewis and Clark tour on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Last spring we took that trip and Joan and Art's comments and companionship made the trip more vivid and delightful. We will miss him.

Statement from SPIE Past President Ted Saito
24 April 2007


Penn State alumni Art Guenther, Paul Yoder, and Ted Saito at the SPIE 50th Anniversary banquet in 2005.

Our community has lost a hard-driving and well-connected crusader with Art Guenther's passing. Art was the "go-to-guy" if you wanted to know who were the leading people in many areas (and he knew their contact information!). I'll also be always indebted to Art for making the connections for me to get my PhD at his beloved Penn State and mentoring me in my early days "at the bench."

Statement from Maria L. Calvo, Secretary, International Commission for Optics
25 April 2007


Maria L. Calvo, Art Guenther and Rene Dandliker at the 19th ICO Congress in 2002.

It is a hard task to write about the recent loss of such a key person to ICO. Art's many different activities reflected his multi-faceted personality. He was brilliant, talented, and deeply involved in the development and expansion of optics and photonics.

I had the opportunity of working with Art during his various periods as a member of the ICO bureau. He was elected ICO Vice-President for the term 1996-1999, then ICO President during 1999-2002, and later ICO Past-President 2002-2005.

Art was always working on projects to benefit the optics community. He focused not only on developing science centers and institutions, but made himself available to colleagues from all over the world.

Art was interested in expanding the education and training of young researchers, professionals, and photonics technicians through his coordination of training programs. He was deeply involved in ETOP meetings, an international collaboration of OSA, SPIE, and IEEE/LEOS. He worked hard for the development of centers in Africa, including the LAM (African Laser, Atomic, Molecular and Optical Sciences) Network. Art was one of the organizers of the first ICO Topical meeting in Senegal in 2001. He was behind the development of the book "Harnessing Light" and many other texts, and also pushed for free educational texts to centers in developing countries.

ICO wishes to express its condolences to SPIE, OSA, the USAC-ICO Committee, and the entire optics community. Finally, we would like to express our sympathies for his wife Joan, his great companion, and his family.

Statement from SPIE Past President Tony DeMaria
24 April 2007

I was saddened to learn of the recent death of Art Guenther. I knew Art since the late 1960s when he was Chief Scientist of the AF Weapons Lab in Albuquerque NM and he became interested in optical damage effects in optical materials. Thinking back, I can hardly remember a SPIE, OSA, LEOS or APS optical/laser meeting that I attended that Art did not attend. His interests were broad; they included education and public policy in addition to his interest in optics. He was an active participant in all four societies. He will be missed.

Statement from M.J. Soileau, V.P. for Research and Professor of Optics, ECE & Physics, University of Central Florida
25 April 2007

Art made major scientific contributions in the areas of laser-induced damage in optical materials and pulsed power generation. His technical contributions were leveraged by the many students and post docs that he mentored and his tireless efforts to disseminate scientific knowledge through international technical conferences.

"Doc" Guenther immersed himself in all areas of optics education from high school, to technical training, to Ph.D. programs. He worked tirelessly on behalf of the optics and laser industries in New Mexico, in the USA, and throughout the world. According to his oldest daughter, TK, Art said the greatest impact to him came from those who provided opportunity and encouragement -- and Art carried forward those gifts into his relationships with others.

Art treated scientific meetings not only as a gathering of technical experts but also as a gathering of friends. His beloved Boulder Damage Meeting is a good example. The conference always started with a reception the evening before the technical program. He personally selected the refreshments, especially the wine, to be served.

Art was a fun, friendly, guy, a devoted husband and father, and a proud grandfather. The world of optics owes his wife Joan, and daughters Tracie (TK) and Wendy, their husbands Dan and Ralph, and granddaughters Chelsea and Cassy, our eternal gratitude for sharing Art with us.

Statement from Bob Breault, CEO of Breault Research Optics
25 April 2007

I have been highly honored to have done long walks and sensitive talks withArt in more countries than I can count. His litany of accomplishments is as long as anyone's and covers more countries. He was always a voice and a champion of optics and photonics. It has been my pleasure, a real enjoyable down-to-earth pleasure to walk the halls of Congress with Art. I miss him deeply already.