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Jean M. Bennett

Jean M/. Bennett

Senior Research Scientist (Optics) and Distinguished Fellow, Michelson Laboratory, Naval Air Warfare center (retired) who in 1986 became the first woman to serve as president of the Optical Society

Country of origin: USA

I liked the independence of my former job as a research scientist in a government laboratory. I could choose my topic (within the broad interest of my organization) and work with a minimum of supervision., My research was on characterizing optical surfaces by measuring their roughness and distribution of surface defects using variety of techniques. I also liked to help people who asked me for assistance. Traveling to foreign countries to attend international conferences and work with outstanding foreign scientists was fun. We all spoke the common language of optics, albeit with different accents. A Swedish scientist and I collaborated on a successful book that introduced the field of surface roughness and scattering, which has now been completely revised because the field changes rapidly, Since my retirement, I have continued to work with many groups in the US and still like to travel, visiting foreign countries (most recently Japan, Sweden, Germany, and Australia). I try to use my expertise to help people solve surface roughness and scattering problems, and in this way help pay back the many people who have helped me through the years.