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Martin J. Booth

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Martin J. Booth is Professor of Optical and Photonic Engineering at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom. He studied Engineering Science (M.Eng.) at Oxford and then completed his doctorate (D.Phil.) in the group of Tony Wilson on the subject of Adaptive Optics for Confocal Microscopy. Immediately following his doctorate, he was awarded an independent Junior Research Fellowship, and subsequently, he held two further prestigious research fellowships from the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. He was made associate professor in 2014 and then full professor later the same year. From 2019-2021 he was Associate Head of Department for Research; since 2021, he has been Deputy Head of Department. In 2012, he won the international Young Researcher Award from the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany, and a visiting professorship. In 2014, he was awarded the International Commission for Optics Prize.

Booth is a Fellow of Optica, SPIE, and the Institute of Physics. He has made many contributions to the optics and photonics community through Optica/OSA and other societies. He was an associate editor of Optics Express (2007-2013) and Biomedical Optics Express (2010-2013). He was editor (2013-2015) and then editor-in-chief (2015-2021) of Optics Communications. He is now an associate editor of Light: Science & Applications (2018-).  He has served on numerous conference committees, including Optica/OSA’s Adaptive Optics, Novel Techniques in Microscopy, CLEO Biophotonics, CLEO Europe. He was general chair (2016-2018) of the Institute of Physics Photon conference, the UK’s major optics and photonics conference. He was the founding chair of the Oxford Photonics Network (2012), which brought together over forty research groups across the university for the first time. He also established the Optica student chapter in Oxford and still serves as its senior member.

Booth’s research centres on the use of adaptive optics to enhance the capabilities of high-resolution optical systems. With his team, he has made numerous advances in adaptive aberration correction for microscopy, with applications ranging from super-resolution cell imaging to deep-tissue imaging for neuroscience.  He has established novel adaptive optical techniques for laser-based precision manufacturing, enabling technologies in diamond photonics and electronics, sapphire optical fibres, liquid crystals and photonic circuits.  Further fundamental advances have been made in spatio-temporal and vectorial adaptive optics.  Much of this work has been carried out in collaboration across scientific disciplines. This research has led to over 170 journal publications, which have attracted more than 11,000 citations. He has presented over 125 invited, plenary or keynote talks at conferences.

In his career, Booth has mentored over 50 researchers (PhD students and post-docs), many of whom have moved on to positions in academia and industry. He has been highly engaged in innovation and commercialisation. He has filed over 25 patents, several of which have been licensed to industry.  He has founded two spin-out optical systems manufacturing companies, Aurox Ltd. and Opsydia Ltd., and served on their management boards.

Election Statement

I am immensely honored to be nominated as a candidate for the Optica Board of Directors. If elected, I will be grateful to be given the opportunity to contribute to the leadership of the society, which has been the most important to me personally since I joined as a graduate student around 25 years ago.

Optica plays a vital role in the optics and photonics community, through its publications, meetings, networks and advocacy for our field. I am enthusiastic to serve this community, from which I have significantly benefited, and to directly help shape the future strategy for Optica. I believe that my leadership experience in the field of optics and photonics means that I can make valuable contributions across Optica’s remit.

I am always impressed by the degree to which optics enables work in other scientific disciplines and how it is the basis for a wide range of technological applications. In my own work, I have enjoyed covering a breadth of activities from theoretical optics through to commercialization. It will be important to strengthen Optica’s ability to cover the wide range of members’ interests not only across optics specializations, but the applications it enables and the spectrum of technology development.

Optica can play a particular role in linking career stages, from nurturing early interest in optics for students through to senior leaders in research and industry. Developing the careers of early-career researchers is a key interest of mine, as illustrated through my commitment to researcher networks and establishment of the Optica student chapter in my own institution. We should ensure that Optica expands its platform to connect and inspire the optics community.

Scientific publishing has seen many changes over the past few years, as technology, policy and research culture change. It is vital that professional organisations like Optica maintain a position of strength in upholding standards and recognizing quality, whether in the content itself, or in the work of reviewers and editors who keep the processes running. We must do this while keeping up with innovations in publishing and the changing needs of our scientific community.

Optica should be agile in adaptation to changes in the way we work. It has led the way in facilitating hybrid conferences, which are ever more important as we meet various challenges to conventional meetings. The demands on members’ time due to work or family commitments, obstacles to obtaining visas, environmental concerns and simply cost can make attendance highly challenging. These factors have greater detrimental effects on certain sections of our community—particularly women and those from lower-resource countries—than on others. It is therefore imperative that we innovate further to provide the best service with increased inclusivity across the whole of our membership, as it is vital to the long-term success of the society.

Document Created: 1 Jan 0001
Last Updated: 1 Jan 0001

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