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Academy Awards honor SPIE members in tech categories

20 January 2015

Iain Neil
Iain Neil
Larry Hornbeck
Larry Hornbeck
Brad Walker
Brad Walker

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced 21 scientific and technical achievements to be honored at the annual Scientific and Technical Awards (Sci-Tech Awards) presentation on 7 February, two weeks prior to the Oscar ceremony, in Beverly Hills, California.

The Sci-Tech awards honor companies and individuals whose discoveries and innovations have contributed in lasting ways to motion pictures.

Among the 58 individual Sci-Tech award recipients, contributing to the making of motion pictures, is SPIE Fellow Iain Neil. Neil is honored for the optical design of the Leica Summilux-C series of lenses, a lightweight lens used for high-resolution cameras. This is Neil's 12th Academy Award. Neil and Andre de Winter, who is honored for the mechanical design of the lenses, will receive the Scientific and Engineering Award, a 24k-gold-plated plaque.

"Incorporating novel telecentric multi-element aspherical optics, these camera lenses have delivered unprecedented optical and mechanical performance," will be engraved on the Scientific and Engineering plaque for the Leica lens.

SPIE Fellow Larry Hornbeck will receive the Academy Award of Merit for inventing the digital micromirror technology used in digital light processing (DLP) cinema projection. This is the second time that the academy has honored Hornbeck for work with DLP cinema projection technology. The technology is not only applicable in motion pictures but also 3D printing and medical imaging.

Also honored this year for work with the DLP cinema projection technology is SPIE Member Brad Walker. Four other current and former Texas Instruments Inc. employees and Walker will receive the Scientific and Engineering Award "for their contributions furthering the design and refinement of the Texas Instruments DLP Cinema projection technology, whose high level of performance enabled color-accurate digital intermediate preview and motion picture theatrical presentation.

The scientific and technical achievements are voted on by the Board of Governors. The board receives recommendations from the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee, which is appointed by the Academy President, Cheryl Boone Isaacs. The committee starts discussing the merits of each entry in the last few weeks of August.

Recent recipients of the Sci-Tech awards have been IMAX, for exhibiting large-format motion pictures, and Avid Technology, for its non-linear editing system. The Sci-Tech Awards ceremony became a full-blown awards dinner presentation in 1977.