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SPIE Professional October 2008

In Memoriam

SPIE mourns the recent passing of several members and friends of the Society:

photo of Jean BennettJean M. Bennett, 78, an authority on optical surfaces, roughness, and characterization who received the SPIE Technology Achievement Award in 1983, died 18 July after a long illness. A former OSA president, Bennett spent most of her career at the Naval Weapons Center (now the Naval Air Warfare Center) at China Lake, CA. She received the SPIE Technology Achievement Award for the development of practical instrumentation for optical surface quality metrology and for her dedicated service and guidance to the optics industry.

She also received the David Richardson Medal from the OSA in 1990, and in 1994 was named a Distinguished Fellow of the Naval Weapons Center. In 1988 the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology established the Jean Bennett Award, given annually to a senior for excellence in optics. Bennett received her PhD in physics from Penn State in 1955.

William R. Bennett Jr., 78, an inventor who helped develop the gas laser in the 1950s while working at Bell Labs in New Jersey, died 29 June.

James A. Dowling, 69, president and co-founder of NU-TEK Precision Optical Co. and a research physicist who specialized in the development of a variety of optical instruments and laser propagation experiments in both the public and private sectors, died 7 July.

Bruce Hasegawa, 57, director of the Physics Research Lab and professor in residence in the Department of Radiology at University of California-San Francisco, died 22 May. Hasegawa was best known as the inventor of multimodality medical imaging techniques, especially SPECT/CT, and contributed significantly to the field of CT and SPECT through many well-cited publications.

Michael H. Krim, 73, an astronomical instrument designer who contributed to the optomechanical designs of the Hubble Space Telescope and the primary mirror of the Spitzer Space Telescope, died 28 July. 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.

Marjorie Meinel, 86, an astronomy research partner and wife of Aden Meinel, died 24 June. In the 1980s the Meinels were hired as distinguished visiting scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where they helped develop next-generation space-telescope concepts. The couple received SPIE's Gold Medal Award in 1997, the Kingslake Medal in 1994 and 2001, the Goddard Award in 1984, the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal in 1993, and the George van Biesbroeck Award for Services in Astronomy in 1990.

Leno S. Pedrotti, 81, who served the optics community as a scientist, author, teacher, and advocate of optics education, died 19 August. He spent more than 30 years at the Air Force Institute of Technology and more than 20 years with the Center for Occupational Research and Development and OP-TEC, the National Center for Optics and Photonics Education. 

In 1987 Leno and his brother Frank coauthored Fundamentals of Optics; in 2006 Leno's son Leno M. Pedrotti also became a co-author on the book. In 2001 he was named an Optical Society of America (OSA) Fellow "for life-long premier contributions to optics education from secondary to graduate levels." 

"Leno Pedrotti was an active member of SPIE for very many years," says Eugene Arthurs, CEO of SPIE. "He had an inspiring passion for education at all levels. While his writings and his books will testify to that, his real legacy is the many people he lifted in so many ways. I count myself fortunate to be one of those, having experienced his gentleness and warmth, and seen his willingness to help others and his talent at doing so. He changed the future for the better. We were truly graced, and that is the word, by Leno."

photo of physicist Robert WagnerSPIE Fellow Robert F. Wagner, 70, founder of the SPIE Medical Imaging symposium series and a founding father of the medical imaging community, died 30 June. Wagner was a member of the Senior Biomedical Research Service in the Center for Devices and Radiological Health of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. An SPIE Fellow since 1988, Wagner was active on the program committee of the Physics of Medical Imaging conference at the Medical Imaging symposium and author of numerous technical papers published by SPIE. He was also a Fellow of IEEE, AIMBE, OSA, and SPSE. Within the FDA he was awarded the FDA Commendable Service Award, the Award of Merit, the Commissioner's Special Citation, and the Public Health Service Superior Service award. The SPIE Newsroom published a tribute to Wagner.

Have a question or comment about this article? Write to us at SPIEprofessional@spie.org.

DOI: 10.1117/2.4200810.47

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