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James C. Wyant

Photo of James C. Wyant

Photo Courtesy of Jacob Chinn / UA Alumni Association

Awards & Distinctions

2010 Optica President James C. Wyant was the founding dean of the College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, US.  He received an MS and PhD from the University of Rochester in 1968 and 1969, respectively. His research focused on applying interferometry to metrology problems in a number of fields including data storage, semiconductors, optical fabrication and biomedicine. He was the author of more than 300 written publications and invited talks on interferometry, holography and optical testing and he has been the major advisor of 30 graduated PhD students and 25+ MS students.

In addition to his academic leadership, Wyant was known as an entrepreneur in the field. He had significant expertise in launching and growing industry corporations, having co-founded WYKO Corporation, 4D Technology and DMetrix. Wyant has been a member of the board of directors for several organizations, including WYKO, ILX Lightwave, Veeco Instruments, Optics 1, DMetrix and 4D Technology. His business acumen earned him industry accolades, including the University of Arizona College of Business and Public Administration Entrepreneurial Fellowship, Arizona’s “Innovator of the Year” Product Award, the Tom Brown Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award and the University of Arizona Technology Innovation Award.

With a breadth of experience in volunteer roles, Wyant was an active participant in the Optica's programs over the years. Wyant held numerous oversight positions for the society's publications including editor-in-chief of Applied Optics, member on the Optics Letters Advisory Panel, associate and topical editor for both JOSA and Applied Optics, and associate editor of Optics Express. He also has had significant experience with the society's leadership, awards and prominent meetings, serving as a member of the Board of Directors and its Executive Committee, chair of the society's Long-Range Planning Committee, chair of the Fraunhofer Award Committee and member of the CLEO Optical Metrology Committee, among numerous other positions.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Wyant also has been recognized for his technical work with awards, including Optica's highest award the Frederic Ives Medal / Jarus W. Quinn Prize, the Joseph Fraunhofer Award/Robert M. Burley Prize , the SPIE Gold Medal, and the SPIE Technology Achievement Award. He is a five-time recipient of R&D Magazine's R&D 100 Award, as well as a five-time recipient of Laurin Publishing's Photonics Circle of Excellence Award for optical products. He also was honored by the University of Rochester’s College of Engineering as a distinguished alumnus. Wyant was a Fellow of Optica.

Wyant was an instrumental co-chair of Optica's Centennial Advisory Committee which was charged with planning the Society's 100th Anniversary in 2016. 

James C. Wyant died on 8 December 2023, please see Optica's memorial entry.


Document Created: 26 Jul 2023
Last Updated: 29 Feb 2024

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