SPIE Educator Award

John Greivenkamp receives the 2017 SPIE Educator Award.

01 April 2017

SPIE Fellow John Greivenkamp, professor of optical sciences and ophthalmology at University of Arizona (UA) (USA), is the recipient of the 2017 SPIE Educator Award for his dedication and passion to both formal and informal optics education for nearly 30 years.

Greivenkamp has taught geometrical optics to approximately 2000 students at the UA College of Optical Sciences since 1991 and is the founder and curator of the Museum of Optics there.

“I know of few others who are engaged in optics education over such a broad spectrum,” said SPIE Fellow MJ Soileau, vice president for research and commercialization at University of Central Florida (USA). Soileau noted that Greivenkamp has also taught many optics courses at SPIE conferences and through the UA distance-learning program, which provides professional enrichment to working adults across the world as well as credit toward an online degree program. Greivenkamp is also an advisor for the National Science Federation’s OpTec program that develops instructional materials for community colleges across the USA.

Greivenkamp started the collection of optical devices for the Museum of Optics in 2003 for demonstrations in his courses, which always emphasize the practical aspects of the design of optical systems. Today, more than 1000 antique and historic telescopes, cameras, lenses, prisms, scanners, binoculars, and microscopes, some dating to the 1600s, are displayed throughout the college, and the museum is one of the college’s major educational outreach programs.

“These physical components enable students to visualize the aspects of optical systems that are often difficult to interpret from simple two-dimensional white board discussions,” said fellow UA professor Jim Schwiegerling. “He has demonstrated a dedication to optics education that is inclusive of all comers and is passionate about transferring his knowledge to the next generation of engineers. A generation of optical engineers have benefitted from his education and training.”

Greivenkamp has a PhD in optical sciences from UA and worked as a researcher at Eastman Kodak Co. before joining the faculty at UA.

He is the editor of the SPIE Field Guides series and author of the Field Guide to Geometrical Optics. He has served on and chaired the SPIE Education and Publications committees and served two terms on the SPIE Board of Directors (1997-1999 and 2012-2014).

The SPIE Educator Award is given annually in recognition of outstanding contributions to optics education by an SPIE instructor or an educator in the field.

Greivenkamp will receive the 2017 SPIE Educator Award at SPIE Optics + Photonics in August.

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