SPIE Fellow Joseph Shaw is among top faculty at Montana State University (MSU) to receive annual awards honoring achievements in outreach, teaching, research and creative projects. Shaw received $2,500 with the Vice President for Research Meritorious Science/Technology Award, which recognizes faculty members who have made at least one significant technological or scientific contribution that could be transferred to the private sector.
As director of the Optical Technology Center at MSU, Shaw's research involves developing optical sensors for applications ranging from imaging of clouds to laser-detection of fish. In MSU's Optical Remote Sensor Laboratory, Shaw and his team have harnessed research on infrared imaging of clouds to help NASA develop a better method for communicating with its vehicles in the far reaches of the solar system.
Shaw was also recognized for photography and science of optical phenomena in nature.
Shaw often uses lessons from nature to further his research in optical design. While mapping invasive lake trout for protection of Yellowstone Lake at Yellowstone National Park, Shaw and his team also use imaging systems to understand Yellowstone's thermal pools and the microbes that they contain.
The ongoing research on microbes, which are the oldest form of life on Earth, has contributed to NASA's research on life on other planets and inspired alternatives for gas and fossil fuels.
Shaw has published more than 60 papers with the SPIE Digital Library on topics such as remote sensing, polarimetry measurements and LIDAR sensing. He is a conference chair of Polarization Science and Remote Sensing at SPIE Optics + Photonics which will be held 9-13 August in San Diego, California.