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In memoriam: James Wiltse, accomplished research engineer and expert in Fresnel zone plate antennas

09 November 2017

James Wiltse
 James Wiltse 

SPIE Fellow James Wiltse, 91, former director of Advanced Technology for Electronic Communications, Inc. (now E-Systems, a division of Raytheon Corporation), passed away 22 September 2017 in his hometown of Gainesville, Georgia. Until his retirement, he worked in Georgia as well at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was associate director of the Research Institute. He was also an adjunct professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and advisor for several masters' and PhD level students. 

Wiltse served as a member of various Department of Defense Advisory Committees and as the General Chairman of the First National Radar Conference. He was a peer reviewer for proposals to the National Science Foundation and the Army Research Office. He was also the principal investigator on the NASA Applications Technology Satellite program at higher than ordinary frequencies. He was the task leader on the ATS-4 satellite launched to evaluate gravity-gradient stabilization and new imaging techniques for meteorological data retrieval. According to his obituary, his work earned him a place on the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum's Wall of Honor.

For his many contributions to the optics and photonics community and to SPIE, Wiltse was made a Fellow of the Society in 2006. During his involvement, he held multiple roles with the Society. At events, he participated in conference program committees, as symposium chair, conference chair, and track chair. He authored several publications with SPIE and was an instructor for SPIE teaching a course in Zone Plate Antennas for Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Frequencies.

He is survived by his wife, Helen, his children and stepchild and their families, his sister, and numerous nieces and nephews.