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Optical Design & Engineering

Born to teach

Glenn Boreman shares his love of classical optics with students and engineers.

From oemagazine October 2001
30 October 2001, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.5200110.0009

Glenn Boreman and Buddy

Glenn Boreman was born to teach. Fortunately for students and electro-optical engineers, he has spent his professional life doing just that. "I enjoy seeing the light bulb switching on over the student's head," he says.

But teaching is only one facet of this man. In addition, Boreman is an active researcher. As technical leader of the Infrared Systems Laboratory at University of Central Florida/CREOL (UCF/Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers; Orlando, FL), he and his staff of seven continuously work on design, test, and fabrication—the so-called "three-legged stool"--of IR detectors and systems. He constantly revamps his course material to reflect the new research and applications, as well as the shift in focus driven by industry. "I must have taught 15 different classes during my 14-year tenure at UCF," Boreman says.

One of his courses has become a classic: "Basic Optics for Engineers," which has also been a staple at SPIE meetings for many years. Boreman also presents the material at in-company training sessions worldwide (the accompanying tutorial text and video have even been translated into Spanish by Javier Alda of Complutense University of Madrid).

Boreman's dedication to teaching is coupled with his early and unwavering decision to study optics. At age 16, he visited the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester (U of R; Rochester, NY) and decided on the spot to make optics his career. He received his bachelor's degree from U of R and then headed to the University of Arizona (U of A; Tucson, AZ) for his Ph.D. It was at the U of A where the native New Yorker discovered his love of warm weather. During his time there, he also made many excursions to the Caribbean and Latin America, eventually visiting two-thirds of the states in Mexico. In 1984 the desire to teach optics in a temperate climate led Boreman to Orlando and UCF, where he has resided and worked ever since.

He has watched the university more than double in size, from 15,000 to 34,000 students, and he was there for the 1985 establishment of CREOL. Though he enjoys the balmy climate of Florida, Boreman takes the opportunity to travel during the summers to England, Switzerland, Spain, or Sweden as a visiting scholar. "My time in Europe is my time to think," he says simply. In other words, the teacher becomes student for a while.

Boreman is a prolific published writer who has authored and coauthored several textbooks, monograph chapters, and more than 100 articles. He also edited a popular CD-ROM of Selected Papers on Infrared Technology (2000, SPIE Press). His most current book is Modulation Transfer Functions in Optical and Electro-Optical Systems (2001, SPIE Press). For 10 years, Boreman has been editor-in-chief of Applied Optics. Though the job can sometimes be harrowing (such as "when those faxes of 35 new submissions come rolling in on a Friday," he says), Boreman enjoys the opportunity to read the hot new research coming down the wire. A Fellow of SPIE and OSA, he also served on SPIE's board of directors from 1997 to 1999.

For several years Boreman has lived on a spacious homestead in central Florida with his wife, Maggie, their son, Eddie, two horses, a cat, and three dogs, including Buddy, Boreman's best friend and trail-walking partner. He originally met Maggie while at U of A, where she was a technical editor for the Optical Sciences Center. They became reacquainted years later and married, with Eustance Dereniak serving as best man. Maggie has copy-edited all of Boreman's books, and he has learned an important rule of publishing: "Never argue with your editor."

Sharon Streams

Sharon Streams is senior editor of the SPIE Press.