By Patricia Daukantas
Wow, I feel as if I have just been through a semester or more of graduate school—and all in the space of two and a half days!
Now, this wasn’t for credit, and I haven’t been doing homework or taking tests. I’ve just finished taking the “Fundamentals of Optics” course at the Institute of Optics Summer School at the University of Rochester. (OSA is one of the institute’s Industrial Associates.)
The course comprised five lectures: geometrical optics, taught by Duncan Moore, a past president of OSA; optical design and lens aberrations, by Julie Bentley of Corning Tropel Inc.; Fourier optics, by Nicholas George; polarization and birefringence, by Thomas Brown; and radiometry and detector principles, by Gary Wicks. We students also were offered a smorgasbord of laboratory sessions, too; among other things, I helped measure the amount of a spherical aberration in a lens and helped make a white-light hologram.
Many of the other 50 or so students taking the fundamentals class were professionals in various branches of engineering who wanted to learn more about optics. Others were in sales or technical writing, and one was a local high school technology teacher.
As for myself, it had been more than a decade since I had taken a class in physics or astronomy, and I was sorely in need of a good refresher. I’m taking home lots of notes and a better understanding of the principles behind the technology I write about for a living.
The summer school continues over the next week and a half. A course in high-resolution microscopy ran parallel to the class I took. Other courses are in modern optical engineering, opto-mechanics, lasers and optoelectronics, biomedical optics and optical thin-film coating technology. Summer school instructors whose names might be familiar to OPN readers include G. Michael Morris, another past president of OSA; James Wyant, the Society’s current vice president; Chunlei Guo, whose work in nanoscale structuring of metals has been featured in OPN’s “Scatterings” column; and James Zavislan, current chair of OPN’s editorial advisory committee.
2008-06 June, Miscellaneous Optics