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In memoriam: Néstor Gaggioli, international optics community leader

06 June 2014

Nestor Gaggioli
Néstor Gaggioli

Néstor Gaggioli, an Argentinean scientist dedicated to optics and photonics and the former vice-president of the Argentine chapter of SPIE, died 22 January.

A long-time member of SPIE, Gaggioli served as the vice-president of the Argentine chapter of SPIE from 2004 through 2008, when regional chapters were transitioned to a different model. He served as vice-president of the International Commission for Optics from 2002-2005; president of the Latin-American Federation of Physical Societies (FELASOFI); president of the Argentine Physics Association (AFA); member of the Argentine Territorial Committee on Optics, the Group for Science and Technology State Policy Steering Committee of Argentine, and the 2006 ICO Galileo Galilei Award Committee.

In Argentina, he founded the Optics Laboratory at the National Institute for Industrial Technology and served as director of the group of applied research in non-destructive testing in the country's National Atomic Energy Commission.

Gaggioli was highly involved in the areas of optics, metrology, acoustics, holography, interferometry, speckle, lasers and optical sensors, optical methods for processing control, and non-destructive testing. Among his contributions to those fields, along with his co-workers, is the first He-Ne laser in Latin-America and the first audio and video transmissions using a He-Ne laser, both in 1964.

He received his PhD in physics from the University of Buenos Aires in 1976. During his career as a member of the Argentinean Research Council, he published more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals, contributed more than 150 conference proceedings, and delivered around 100 talks at national and international events, some regarding science policy in Argentina and abroad.

"Néstor was a beloved colleague and partner, and was a passionate promoter of the development of a national scientific policy specifically oriented to address the country needs. Particularly, he was engaged with the development and application of Optics and Photonics in Argentina and Latin-American, which he consequently followed during his appointment at ICO," wrote the International Commission for Optics in an obituary for Gaggioli. "He was a guide to all of us in human, scientific, and political aspects. Above all, he paved a road to regroup us, share experiences and fight for our ideals."