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In memoriam: Juan L. Rayces

30 December 2009

Lens design legend Juan L. Rayces died December 6 in Tucson at the age of 91.

Rayces' list of honors and awards include SPIE's 2004 A.E. Conrady Award in recognition of his innovative contributions to design, construction, and testing of optical systems and instrumentation, and for lifetime dedication to the art and science of optical design.

He studied technical optics under Professor Louis Martin (who succeeded A. E. Conrady) at Imperial College in London (London, UK), graduating in 1948. Rayces emigrated from his native Argentina in 1951. His distinguished career in lens design has included two stints with Perkin-Elmer (Norwalk, CT, and Costa Mesa, CA) totaling nearly 24 years. After retirement, he continued to work as a consultant while mentoring and helping students and professionals in the United States and around the world.

In a 2004 interview with SPIE (see link below), Rayces reminisced about his design for an "upside-down periscope" used on the Mercury space capsule, and later work on the Hubble corrective optics. Rayces said that he cherished his contacts with former students, and that whenever he heard from them, it was "every time a tremendous thrill…The mentioning of my help in their PhD theses, are the most cherished mementoes of my professional life."

A memorial service is planned in Tucson in early 2010.

Out of this World: From telescope lenses to extraterrestrial periscopes, Juan L. Rayces discusses his career of innovative lens design. (oemagazine article in SPIE Newsroom) http://spie.org/x16987.xml