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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

The Optics Option: Preparing For A Career In Optics
Author(s): Rudolf Hartmann

Paper Abstract

We live in a visual world. Without vision, our perception of the environment would be severely limited. Visual stimuli are seen, recorded, and processed in many different ways. Astronomy, the process of imaging distant objects, and microscopy, the process of magnifying minute detail, are extensions of vision. Other extensions of vision include seeing things in different spectra, processing images for enhancement, making decisions automatically, and guiding and controlling sophisticated, complex industrial and military equipment. Optics is the study of this vision and its applications. Optics is a fascinating field that is growing rapidly. Students and practitioners of optics are attracted to the field for a variety of reasons. Hobbies such as photography, astronomy, and video recording, as well as academic pursuits, such as a high school physics or science project, may spawn an interest in optics; however, college training is the cornerstone of an optics career. Optics is part of physics, and as such, requires coursework in the areas of geometrical optics, physical optics, spectroscopy, electricity, magnetism, and solid state physics. In addition, mathematics is extremely important for optics design, analysis, and modeling. Optics is the successful synergism of these many disciplines. Many colleges and universities offer undergraduate and graduate optics curricula. Rochester University's Institute of Optics and the Optical Sciences Center of the University of Arizona are the most prestigious of these institutions. Further, such societies as the Optical Society of America (OSA) and the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE) offer a wide variety of valuable short courses, tutorials, seminars, and papers at conferences that are held several times a year. Traditional optics fields, such as optometry, the examination of the eye and correction of its defects, or ophthalmology, the study of disease and treatment of the eye, are optics-oriented careers. Exciting new fields, such as optical communication, optical computing, Phase conjugation, adaptive optics, and holography, are expanding the scope of optics technologies. Development of sophisticated military EO systems presents one of the greatest opportunities and challenges in the optics world today.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 April 1989
PDF: 4 pages
Proc. SPIE 0978, 1988 Intl Conf on Education in Optics, (27 April 1989); doi: 10.1117/12.948595
Show Author Affiliations
Rudolf Hartmann, Martin Marietta Corporation (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0978:
1988 Intl Conf on Education in Optics
Brij M. Khorana, Editor(s)

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