Plenary Speakers

Patrick McCarthy
Giant Magellan Telescope, USA

Giant Magellan Telescope, Optics and Science

The world’s next great astronomical observatory – The Giant Magellan Telescope – will be used to explore the early Universe and to search for life on other planets. I will describe the scientific mission and the engineering challenges involved in its design and construction.

Bio: Patrick McCarthy is the Interim President of the Giant Magellan Telescope Project. He received his Ph. D., in Astronomy from U. C. Berkeley in 1988. He went to the Carnegie Observatories first as a Carnegie Fellow
and then as a Hubble Fellow in 1991. In 1993 he joined the scientific staff at Carnegie. He is known for his work on galaxies in the distant universe and, in particular, for his study of distant low frequency cosmic radio sources: sign posts to massive galaxies undergoing rapid accretion on to super massive black holes. In the late 1990s, McCarthy and his colleagues identified a new population of galaxies with colors indicative of very early star formation. Study of these faint red galaxies is now one of the most active areas of research in astrophysics.
McCarthy has been active in scientific and management oversight of large science projects and organizations. He has chaired numerous panels for NASA and the NSF providing independent oversight of the Hubble Space, Spitzer Space Telescope, and large telescopes on the ground. McCarthy led the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) Science Working Group that wrote the scientific case for the telescope project and defined the scientific and technical requirements for the facility.
Today, he leads the team of scientists and engineers building the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), an enormous instrument comprised of seven primary mirror segments—the seven largest mirrors ever made—that will stretch to more than 80 feet across once complete. The GMT will explore the cosmos to observe the first stars in the universe, offering images 10 times sharper than those coming from the Hubble Space Telescope. Since 2008, he has served as the head of the non-profit corporation, GMTO, that is charged with carrying out the development, construction and operation of the telescope and related facilities. My day-to-day responsibilities include ensuring that the telescope and its instruments will be able to address the key questions at the forefront of astrophysics in 2020 and beyond.

Joshua Smith
California State University Fullerton, USA

Using optics and precision metrology in to measure black hole mergers from across the universe with LIGO

On September 14, 2015 the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) detected gravitational waves from the merger of a binary system of black holes. This discovery could not have been made without a century of advances in optical technology and precision metrology. I will give an overview of gravitational waves detected by LIGO to date and describe the optics involved and current optical challenges. I will end with prospects for future gravitational-wave observations made with even more advanced optics.

Bio: Joshua Smith directs the Gravitational-Wave Physics and Astronomy Center (GWPAC) and is an associate professor of physics at California State University, Fullerton. Currently he is active in gravitational research, astronomy education research, and teaching physics and astronomy. His research is focused on detecting gravitational waves from astronomical sources using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) in collaboration with colleagues in GWPAC and in the international LIGO Scientific Collaboration. 

Jannick Rolland
University of Rochester, USA

Freeform Optics from Design to Manufacture and its Envisioned Impact on Technology to Enable the Science of Tomorrow

All-reflective optical solutions have long hold their place in optical system design from small scale optics as in microscopes to large scale optics as in telescopes. Yet reflective solutions have suffered from obscuration or the need to restrain surfaces to be off-axis conics or aspherics. The ability to recently fabricate freeform surfaces opens up new spaces for optical design, driven by applications spanning demands in mobility, larger fields of view, apertures, light weight and compactness.  I will present success stories designing and prototyping designs with freeform surfaces and highlight pathways and challenges associated with their emergence.

Bio: Jannick Rolland is the Brian J. Thompson Professor of Optical Engineering at the University of Rochester and she directs the NSF I/UCRC Center for Freeform Optics (CeFO).
Rolland joined the University of Rochester in 2009 after advancing her career from Assistant to Full Professor at CREOL, the College of Optics and Photonics at the University of Central Florida.  Together with colleagues at the University of Rochester and partners at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, she launched in 2013 the Center for Freeform Optics (CeFO) as an international consortium aimed at advancing the science and engineering of freeform
optics.  Rolland earned an optical engineering diploma from the Institut D'Optique Théorique et Appliquée, France, and a PhD in Optical Science from the College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona. She is a Fellow of OSA, SPIE, and NYSTAR. She is the recipient of the 2014 OSA David Richardson Medal. She is known for her innovations since the 90s in head-worn displays, and more recently her innovations in 3D microscopy and telescope designs.