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Optical Design & Engineering

In memoriam: Michael H. Krim

Michael H. Krim, of Trumbull, CT, died on July 28 at age 73.

Krim dedicated his career at Perkin-Elmer/Hughes/Raytheon to the design of non-aggressive aerospace technology and to space science exploration. He was instrumental in the optomechanical design of the Hubble Space Telescope. Though the Smithsonian Institution asked for the original Hubble drawings, coffee-cup stains and all, he denied their request, keeping the drawings for his daughters. Krim is also credited with the concept design of the ultra-lightweight primary mirror of the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is currently on an infrared astronomy mission. Upon retirement he became a consultant for Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and other institutions. This work included the James Webb Space Telescope and his 2002 appointment as Chair of the Independent Review Panel of NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder Mission. Michael continued until his death to contribute greatly in this field.

A former member of SPIE, he served on the program committees of several SPIE conferences related to precision instruments and telescope design in the 1990s, and taught a SPIE course on Athermalization of Optical Structures for several years. He was a regular contributor of papers to SPIE conferences, dating back to the 1980s.

"Mike was a consummate gentleman and an innovator par excellence," said Jim Bilbro, a past president of SPIE who worked with Krim for 30 years. "I remember fondly his description of life during the 'heyday' of the PerkinElmer Danbury plant, and I remember sitting with him while he sketched out his latest idea on whatever scrap of paper was handy. Mike will be sorely missed, and the optics community will be the poorer without him."

Krim was a wonderful folk musician, talented artist, humorous story teller, woodworker, and Triumph enthusiast. He began building model airplanes early in his childhood in the Bronx and still had the special motor he received from his parents for his Bar Mitzvah 60 years ago. He recently completed a new plane and was looking forward to flying it with his grandchildren. Michael was generous to all, not only with his material objects, but with his knowledge, humor, and kindness.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Carol, his daughters Abby and Risa, and two grandchildren. In his memory, donations can be made to the Food Allergy and Anaphylactic Network, an organization close to his heart.