Weekly Memo

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

We have been keeping impressive company of late. Faculty member Jannick Rolland recently delivered an abundance of partnership news I’m eager to share as proof that we continue to solidify our stellar reputation on an international stage. (Plus, with the Olympic Games well under way across the pond, it seems an ideal time to celebrate the gold-standard champions of the Hajim School.)

First, the National Science Foundation has awarded UR a Center for Freeform Optics planning grant, in support of a partnership that includes The Institute of Optics, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Pennsylvania State University, as well as a number of industry and government entities and foundations.

Meanwhile, on July 9, Rolland – the Brian J. Thompson Professor of Optical Engineering – presented on freeform optics to an audience of esteemed scientists in Bordeaux, France. Joining our colleagues from The Institute of Optics were constituents from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the University of Bordeaux 1, and INRIA, a public organization that supports French science and technology research. Rolland reports this group is collaborating on a study centered on augmented reality, optics, and computer graphics.

She and fellow University representative Kevin Thompson, a Hajim School visiting professor, were then welcomed to Carl Zeiss Optronics in Oberkochen, Germany, to give talks on emerging technologies, including: the theory and application of the most significant discoveries born over a century in geometrical optics; and freeform surfaces. The substance of the pair’s former presentation was published in June in the Optical Society of America’s Optics & Photonics News. The latter featured content that’s due to appear in September at the online newsroom of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

The European Space Agency (ESA) in Munich also invited Rolland and Thompson to visit. Thompson gave a talk there on newly discovered techniques – involving active primary mirrors – for the alignment of the new generation of large telescopes at ESA. Rolland is pursuing a partnership with the Agency, as well as an ESA internship opportunity for one of our Optics students. You might say Rolland is on a roll …

Finally, I’d like to thank Computer Science Professor Henry Kautz, who on Saturday shared with me a prominent UR mention made during last week’s episode of the popular NPR show, “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” Termed “Diagnosis Tweet,” the segment talked up Hajim School post-doc Adam Sadilek and team’s work, which has used the information relayed in people’s Tweets to pinpoint geographic “hot spots” for the flu. We all know we do amazing things here – but such outside validation is always a nice reward. To listen, click here and forward to the 5:30 mark.

I offer my gratitude and admiration to Rolland, Thompson, Kautz, Sadilek, and every member of our community, who together are dedicated to an ever better present – and future.

Rob Clark
Professor and Dean