Donald S. Nicholson

In Memoriam: Donald S. Nicholson, 1918-2016

November 11, 2016

Donald “Don” S. Nicholson, OSA Fellow and Emeritus Member, passed away on 11 November 2016 at the age of 98. Nicholson was an active member of The Optical Society and the Optical Society of Southern California (OSSC).  Nicholson served as OSSC President from 1969-1970 and became an OSA Fellow in 1972. His OSA membership spanned more than 50 years, having joined the Society in 1962. 
Nicholson studied physics as an undergraduate at Pomona College and pursued a master’s degree in meteorology at Caltech.  Upon his graduation in 1942, Nicholson joined the Lockheed Overseas Corporation in Northern Ireland and then was given a commission in the United States Army Air Force.  After four years of service, he moved onto positions at Technicolor, Northrop Grumman, and The Aerospace Corporation. During his tenure at Aerospace, Nicholson led the Optical Systems Department and had the opportunity to work on many Air Force space programs as a Senior Engineering Specialist, before retiring in 1984.
Nicholson was a life-long member and active volunteer of the Mount Wilson Observatory Association.  His father had been an astronomer at the observatory and it was during his childhood that Nicholson developed an interest in science and physics. Nicholson remained active throughout his life and his colleagues and friends noted that he possessed a quick wit, dry sense of humor, and liberal perspective on politics.  He was preceded in death by his wife of 48 years Jean Simpson and will be missed by his family and friends.
OSA and the scientific community mourns the loss of Don Nicholson.

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