SPIE President’s Award

Brian Lula receives 2017 award.

01 July 2017

photo of Brian LulaSPIE Fellow Brian Lula, a member of the SPIE Board of Directors and a past secretary/treasurer for the Society, is the recipient of the 2017 SPIE President’s Award. The annual award is presented to an individual who has rendered unique and meritorious service to the Society.

Lula is president of Physik Instrumente USA, a leading manufacturer of piezoceramic-based micro- and nano-positioning equipment for research and applications in industry, such as adaptive optic positioners for astronomical telescopes, semiconductor fabricating equipment, mask alignment and autofocusing mechanisms, and high-resolution microscopy. He previously was a sales director and general manager with Newport Corporation.

The SPIE President’s Award recognizes Lula’s commitment to SPIE through outstanding service, leadership, guidance, involvement in governance, and public outreach on behalf of the Society.

Lula has had a lifelong passion for telescope making and astronomical imaging that sparked his interest in mechanical engineering. His photo of Elephant’s Trunk Nebula in IC 1396 was featured in NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day in 2007, and another of his astroimages in the design of an SPIE necktie.

Through the years, he has developed relationships with astronomy clubs, schools, and NASA (as above), with the goal of sparking interest in young people to pursue education and careers in engineering and science. He also has spoken at local and national gatherings of amateur telescope makers about the many promising career opportunities for opto-mechanical and electro-optical engineers.

“When young people today express a desire to learn about telescope making, I encourage them strongly to pursue this hobby,” Lula said in a 2008 SPIE Professional article. “The sky is truly the limit as they consider careers based on optical technologies. Understanding the fundamentals of telescope system design, from optics to mechanics to controls, can vault a young person to the head of his/her engineering or science class.”

“It is amazing to me how many of my SPIE colleagues can point to an interest in optics that developed from some interaction in their childhood with telescopes,” Lula said.

SPIE annual awards

As secretary/treasurer from 2007-2014, Lula was responsible for financial oversight of SPIE during a period of significant growth as well as major shifts in the global economy. According to SPIE President Glenn Boreman, “the Society owes a debt of gratitude to Brian for his excellent stewardship of SPIE’s resources and for his insightful leadership as a member of the SPIE Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and multiple other SPIE committees since 1998.”

Lula and other 2017 SPIE award winners will be honored at an awards banquet 9 August during SPIE Optics + Photonics.

Read more about SPIE awards.

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