Skip To Content

17 February 2022

Optica awards James Wyant the 2022 Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus W. Quinn Prize

WASHINGTON — Optica (formerly OSA) has named James C. Wyant, Emeritus Professor and Founding Dean at the University of Arizona, College of Optical Sciences, USA, the 2022 Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus W. Quinn Prize recipient.

First presented in 1929, the Frederic Ives Medal recognizes overall distinction in optics, and is Optica’s highest award. The Quinn Prize was added in 1995 in honor of Optica’s first Executive Director, Jarus W. Quinn.

Wyant is recognized for pioneering contributions in advancing the science and technology of quantitative interferometric metrology, his leadership as an educator and entrepreneur, and his visionary service to the global optics and photonics community.

“Jim Wyant has enhanced our field and Society through his extraordinary work as an educator, scientist, entrepreneur and leader,” said Satoshi Kawata, Optica’s 2022 President. “We are grateful to Jim for all he has given to our community.” 

Wyant earned his MS and PhD degrees from The Institute of Optics, University of Rochester, USA, after a BS in Physics from the Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University), USA. Before attending Case, Wyant lived a life of innovation and entrepreneurship on the family farm in Lyons, Ohio, USA, where his still ongoing involvement in ham radio began. 

After his PhD in 1968, Wyant joined Itek, in Burlington, MA, USA, and worked at the interface of holography and rapidly developing computer technology. In 1974, he returned to academia with a faculty appointment at the Optical Sciences Center (OSC), University of Arizona. In 1999, he became the Director of the OSC, and, in 2005, became the Founding Dean of the University’s College of Optical Sciences.  In 2019, The College of Optical Sciences was renamed the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences in his honor.  As an entrepreneur and strong supporter of industry, Wyant co-founded WYKO Corporation and 4D Technology Corporation and has been a Board member for several other companies including Veeco Instruments, DMetrix, Optics 1, and ILX Lightwave.

A prolific author and speaker, Wyant has written more than 300 scientific articles and given numerous invited talks on interferometry, holography and optical testing.  His pioneering work in the field of adaptive optics played an important role in the development of the first adaptive optical system, and his holographic techniques, which provided a means of testing aspheric surfaces, have been a standard procedure for decades.  He is also well-known for creating the optical testing technique used on the James Webb Space Telescope as well as most, if not all, of the giant telescopes around the world.

Over the course of his career, Wyant has been widely recognized for his ground-breaking work in optics and photonics. He is a member of the National Academy of Inventors, the National Academy of Engineering, and the International Order of the Knights of Holography. He is also a Fellow of Optica, SPIE, and a Lifetime Fellow of the Optical Society of India.  A few of the numerous awards he has received for his technical, entrepreneurial and academic achievements include Optica’s Joseph Fraunhofer Award/Robert M. Burley Prize, SPIE’s Gold Medal, SPIE Visionary Award, Wolfram (Mathematica) Innovator Award, Photonics Circle of Excellence Awards, and R&D 100 Awards. 

His service to the community, and in particular, Optica, has been extensive.  Wyant was the Society’s President in 2010, served on the Board of Directors and its Executive Committee, was the Editor-in-Chief of Applied Optics and an Associate Editor for a number of the Society’s other journals, was Chair of the Long-Range Planning Committee and the Joseph Fraunhofer Award/Robert M. Burley Prize, among numerous other positions.

About Optica

Optica, Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, is the society dedicated to promoting the generation, application, archiving and dissemination of knowledge in the field. Founded in 1916, it is the leading organization for scientists, engineers, business professionals, students and others interested in the science of light. Optica's renowned publications, meetings, online resources and in-person activities fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate scientific, technical and educational achievement. Discover more at:

Media Contact

Image for keeping the session alive