SPIE Fellow Joseph Mait has been appointed the new chief scientist at the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Maryland (USA).
Mait has been with ARL since 1989 and will remain in his current role as senior technical researcher while fulfilling new responsibilities helping the ARL director achieve the laboratory's vision.
Mait was most recently involved in SPIE conference committees for "RF and Millimeter-Wave Photonics II" at SPIE Photonics West 2012 and "Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications IV" at SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing 2012.
His research includes sensors and the application of optics, photonics, and electro-magnetics to sensing and sensor signal processing. Particular research areas include diffractive optic design and computational imaging, and his recent SPIE publications focused on millimeter-wave imaging.
"A key element of this is realizing the lab's discovery and innovation potential, while fostering connections between the lab and the Army community," Mait said in an Army press release.
"This requires an environment that is open and empowering, yet relevant and accountable," he said. Achieving that will take patience and finesse and I think it is important that the chief scientist be an advocate for the lab to the Army, as well as an advocate for the staff to the director."
Mait says he expects the way the ARL conducts business in the future will be different than it is today.
"I am talking less about tools than I am mindset," he said. "If we have achieved an open and empowering, relevant and accountable environment, I expect to see a more fluid transfer of ideas and technology between ARL and its technical partners, domestic and international, in academia and industry and between ARL and its Army compatriots."
Being selected by the director to serve as chief scientist is humbling, said Mait, and he believes it reflects the respect that management has in both his technical abilities and insight on nontechnical matters.
"I am buoyed in my new position by the encouragement I have received from many of the staff members," Mait said. "My career at ARL has not been a straight one, but it has been steady. I am a little surprised it led me here, but I feel prepared and committed."