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Kevin P. Thompson Optical Design Innovator Award

The award was established in 2017 to honor the memory of active volunteer, Kevin P. Thompson.

Society Connection

Kevin P. Thompson was a Fellow and active member, having served as a conference speaker and a member of several committees.  

Key Funders

Jannick Rolland, Synopsys

About Kevin P. Thompson

Thompson received his PhD in Optical Sciences from the University of Arizona, College of Optical Sciences in 1980, where he worked with Professor Roland V. Shack on optical aberrations for optical systems without symmetry. Thompson’s undergraduate work was done at the University of Minnesota, Institute of Technology in the areas of astrophysics and physics.

He was the Group Director, Research and Development/Optics at Synopsys, Inc, and was known for leading breakthroughs in the understanding of the aberration fields of a new class of truly nonsymmetric optical systems using freeform optical surfaces. He is remembered for his significant contributions in optical systems development and his pioneering discoveries in nodal aberration theory.

Thompson was an active volunteer having served as the co-Chairman of the Topical Meeting on Freeform Optics, and as a member of the Fellows Selection Committee and of the Board of Meetings. He also served as co-Chairman on the Freeform Optics Incubator, as a Topical Editor of JOSA A, Geometrical Optics, and Chairman of the Optical Design Technical Group.

Most recently he was presented the 2015 Alumnus of the Year in Optical Sciences award by the University of Arizona in recognition of his significant contributions to the field of optical sciences and engineering, particularly in optical systems development. He also received The Conrady Award for contributions to Optical Aberration Theory in 2013 from SPIE. He was a member of AAAS, IEEE, SAE, SID, and was a Society and SPIE Fellow. He was widely published and held three US patents. He passed away on 20 November 2015.

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