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Kevin P. Thompson Optical Design Innovator Award

Recognizes significant contributions to lens design, optical engineering, or metrology by an individual as evidenced by one or more of the following: innovative and rigorous research; optical system design with a foundation in aberration theory; development of advanced metrology capabilities; product development; patents; or publications.

Candidates must be within ten (10) years of the completion of their highest degree earned in the year the award is presented, excluding career breaks (e.g., eldercare, maternity or paternity leave, adoption). The contribution is deemed significant, in that, an individual, who is at such an early phase of their career, has contributed substantially by advancing the discipline or application area.

The award was established in 2017 in memory of Kevin P. Thompson, who, among many other accomplishments, was known for leading breakthroughs in the understanding of the aberration fields of a new class of truly nonsymmetric optical systems using freeform optical surfaces. It is endowed by several supporters including Jannick Rolland and Synopsys.



Rengmao Wu

Rengmao Wu

For achievements in theory and computational methods for freeform illumination optics


Aaron Michael Bauer

Aaron Michael Bauer

For theoretical, creative, and innovative design methods for freeform optics


Kyle Fuerschbach

Kyle Fuerschbach

For ground breaking work utilizing nodal aberration theory to design, manufacture, and test a fully functional first-ever free form imaging telescope in a fully rotationally nonsymmetric configuration, demonstrating revolutionary freeform surfaces in optical imaging systems


Ulrike Fuchs

Ulrike Fuchs

For interlinking aspects of optical design, tolerancing, metrology and manufacturing for aspherics to enable their usage as reasonable choice in optical systems

* Deceased