Plenary Event
Sunday Evening Plenary
icon_on-demand.svgOn demand | Presented Live 1 August 2021 





6:00 PM - 6:05 PM: Welcome and Opening Remarks


2021 SPIE Past President John E. Greivenkamp, Wyant College of Optical Sciences (United States)

6:05 PM - 6:35 PM: The Future Vision for NASA Astrophysics



Paul Hertz, NASA Headquarters (United States)

NASA seeks to discover how the universe works, explore how the universe began and developed into its present form, and search for Earth-like planets. The core of NASA’s astrophysics program is a portfolio of space missions ranging from CubeSats and PI-led Explorers to Great Observatories like the Hubble Space Telescope. The space missions are enabled by extensive programs in supporting research and technology development. The 2020 Decadal Survey in Astronomy and Astrophysics will identify new science priorities for NASA. This talk will summarizes NASA’s astrophysics program and discuss possible visions for the future of NASA astrophysics.

Paul Hertz is Director of Astrophysics in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA. He previously served as a Senior Scientist and as the Chief Scientist of the NASA Science Mission Directorate. Prior to joining NASA, Hertz was an astrophysicist at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC, where his research concentrated on X-ray emission from galactic neutron stars, black holes, and globular clusters. Hertz received SB degrees in Physics and Mathematics from MIT, and a PhD in Astronomy from Harvard. He is a recipient of many awards including the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award, and the Robert J. Trumpler Award.

6:35 PM - 7:05 PM: Enabling Technologies for Astrophysics, Planetary Science, and Terrestrial Applications

Shouleh Nikzad, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (United States)

Silicon imagers are ubiquitous in the consumer landscape. With nanoscale engineering, they can become high performance scientific imagers with high sensitivity and extended spectral range response, enabling discoveries and capabilities in space exploration. This allows an opportunity to leverage the enormous investment in these imagers. In this plenary talk, Dr. Shouleh Nikzad will describe how surface engineering enables high performance in detectors, filters, and coating technologies which in turn could enable discoveries in future space missions ranging from CubeSats to flagship. She will also discuss the synergistic way these technologies can be used for terrestrial applications and in particular medical applications.

Dr. Shouleh Nikzad is a JPL Fellow, Senior Research Scientist, a Principal Engineer, and the Lead for Advanced Detectors, Systems, and Nanoscience at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She holds visiting faculty and lecturer appointments at the Caltech Physics Math, and Astronomy Division, the Caltech Medical Engineering Department. She also previously held a visiting faculty position at the Cedar Sinai Medical Center’s Neurosurgery Department. She is a fellow of the SPIE, the National Academy of Inventors, the American Physical Society, and the IEEE. She is a founding Board of Directors member and past president (2014-2015) of the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics (SBMT) during which she presented SBMT’s Beacon of Courage and Dedication Award to Professor Stephen Hawking. Her awards and recognitions include SPIE’s Aden and Marjorie Meinel Technology Achievement Award (2021), NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal NASA Honor Award – Group Achievement Awards, IEEE Distinguished Lecturer Award, SBMT Pioneer in Medicine Award (technology and leadership), OSA Global Women of Light, and NASA-JPL’s Lew Allen Award of Excellence. Dr. Nikzad earned a BS in Electrical Engineering with honors from USC, an MSEE from Caltech, and a PhD in Applied Physics from Caltech. She holds over 20 US patents and has over 200 publications including peer reviewed articles, proceedings, book chapters, review papers, popular articles, and editorials.

7:05 PM - 7:35 PM: X-ray Imaging at the Nanoscale with Attosecond Time Resolution



Tais Gorkhover, Institute of Experimental Physics, Univ. Hamburg (Germany)

Most far field imaging methods have to compromise between temporal or spatial resolutions. Electron microscopy is limited in time resolution, optical light scattering within the femtosecond domain lacks spatial resolution. X-ray Free Electron Lasers (FELs) are capable of producing very bright bursts of coherent X-rays with femtosecond pulse durations. X-ray FELs offer unique opportunities to visualize transient processes as “frozen” in time with high temporal and spatial resolutions before the sample is destroyed. I will present an overview over state-of-art nanoparticle imaging experiments with X-ray FELs, new developments such as intense and isolated sub-fs X-ray pulses, and discuss current challenges and opportunities for the study of chemical reactions, material sciences and biology.

Tais Gorkhover is a full professor at the University of Hamburg (Germany). After her graduate studies at the Technical University, Gorkhover joined SLAC National Laboratory in 2014 as a Peter Paul Ewald fellow from the Volkswagen Foundation. From 2016-2020, Gorkhover had been a Panofsky fellow and a Primary Investigator at SLAC. Tais Gorkhover joined the faculty of University of Hamburg in June 2020.