Plenary Speakers

John Mather

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, USA
Nobel Prize in Physics 2006

The James Webb Space Telescope
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), planned for launch in October 2018, utilizes high performance imaging optics to see beyond what the great Hubble Space Telescope can see, farther away and farther back in time.   It will be the workhorse telescope for a generation of space astronomers, opening the infrared (0.6-28 µm) window with a 6.6 m aperture cold telescope. To test it end-to-end, we have developed remarkable laser interferometer technologies, with computer-generated holograms to test the primary mirror, and it must all be done cold and in a vacuum tank.  I will outline the mission design, the scientific objectives, and the current status.

John Mather is a Senior Astrophysicist and is the Senior Project Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) where his research centers on infrared astronomy and cosmology.  He led proposal efforts for the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), which ultimately enabled the COBE team to show that the cosmic microwave background radiation has a blackbody spectrum within 50 parts per million, confirming the expanding universe model (the Big Bang Theory) and initiating the study of cosmology as a precision science. The COBE team also first mapped the hot and cold spots in the background radiation (anisotropy), now attributed to quantum fluctuations in an inflationary period in the first 10-36 sec of the universe; Stephen Hawking called their discovery “the most important scientific discovery of the century, if not of all time.”

W.E. Moerner

Stanford University, USA
Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry 2014

W. E. Moerner, the Harry S. Mosher Professor of Chemistry and Professor, by courtesy, of Applied Physics at Stanford University, conducts research in physical chemistry and chemical physics of single molecules, single-molecule biophysics, super-resolution imaging and tracking in cells, and trapping of single molecules in solution. His interests span methods of precise quantitation of single-molecule properties, to strategies for three-dimensional imaging and tracking of single molecules, to applications of single-molecule measurements to understand biological processes in cells, to observations of the photodynamics of single photosynthetic proteins and enzymes. He has been elected Fellow/Member of the NAS, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, AAAS, ACS, APS, and The Optical Society. Major awards include the Earle K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy, the Irving Langmuir Prize in Chemical Physics, the Pittsburgh Spectroscopy Award, the Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry, the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, and the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Shree Nayar

Columbia University, USA

Advances in Computational Imaging
Computational imaging uses new optics to capture a coded image, and an appropriate algorithm to decode the captured image. This approach of manipulating images before there are recorded and processing recorded images before they are presented has three key benefits. First, it enables us to implement imaging functionalities that would be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve using traditional imaging. Second, it can be used to significantly reduce the hardware complexity of an imaging system. Lastly, under appropriate imaging conditions, it allows us to break the limits of traditional imaging. In this talk, I'll show recent examples of cameras that demonstrate these benefits.

Shree K. Nayar is the T. C. Chang Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University. He heads the Columbia Vision Laboratory (CAVE), which develops advanced computer vision systems. His research is focused on three areas - the creation of novel cameras that provide new forms of visual information, the design of physics based models for vision and graphics, and the development of algorithms for understanding scenes from images. His work is motivated by applications in the fields of digital imaging, computer graphics, robotics and human-computer interfaces.

Nayar received his PhD degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. For his research and teaching he has received several honors including the David Marr Prize (1990 and 1995), the David and Lucile Packard Fellowship (1992), the National Young Investigator Award (1993), the NTT Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award (1994), the Keck Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching (1995), the Columbia Great Teacher Award (2006), and the Carnegie Mellon Alumni Achievement Award (2009). For his contributions to computer vision and computational imaging, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2008, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011, and the National Academy of Inventors in 2014.