Juan L. Rayces

In Memoriam: Juan L. Rayces

December 06, 2009

OSA Mourns the Loss of Juan L. Rayces

Juan RaycesJuan L. Rayces, an OSA Fellow Emeritus known for his contributions to lens design, died December 6, 2009, in Tucson, AZ. He was 91.

In a 2003 interview , Mr. Rayces said his lifelong fascination with optics began in high school when he borrowed his big brother's physics textbook and a lens from his mother's discarded spectacles in order to build a few simple optical instruments. After high school he attended the Naval School, Rio Santiago, Argentina, and was commissioned in 1940. While in the Navy, he was first transferred to the Optics Facility at the Naval Base and then enrolled in the Technical Optics Course under Professor Louis Martin (successor to A. E. Conrady) at Imperial College in London. He retired from the Navy in 1948 and took a position at the La Plata Observatory. He immigrated to the United States in 1951.

Rayces’ distinguished career included nearly 24 years of service at Perkin-Elmer, where he developed innovative lens design software, more than 25 years as an independent optical consultant to clients worldwide, and the creation of the lens design program, Eikonal. He was also involved with space applications, including an “upside-down” periscope he designed for the Mercury capsule. Mr. Rayces contributed to the simulation of Hubble's primary mirror error and the design of the NIMS Spectrometer on the Galileo Saturn mission. Today, OSC students learning lens design use the Rayces' zero-index trick to model null correctors for astronomical applications.

An OSA member since 1953, Rayces was elevated to the rank of Fellow in 1995.

Juan Rayces' list of honors and awards include SPIE's 2004 A.E. Conrady Award in recognition of his innovative contributions to design, construction, and testing of optical systems and instrumentation, and for lifetime dedication to the art and science of optical design.

Mr. Rayces was very generous with his optical design knowledge. After retirement, he continued to work as a consultant while mentoring and helping students and professionals in the United States and around the world. His enthusiasm and love for optics remained with him until five days before he died.

He is survived by his wife, Maria-Ines, two daughters and several grandchildren. A memorial service will be held in Tucson on Saturday, April 17 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.