OSA | Living History

Joseph W. Goodman

1992 OSA President and Honorary Member Joseph W. Goodman received the A.B. Degree in Engineering and Applied Physics from Harvard University in 1958, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1960 and 1963, respectively. 

Goodman finished his doctorate just as the cw laser became commercially available and as a new era of holography and optical information processing was opened by Emmett Leith and his colleagues.  His fields of research included holography, optical information processing, digital image processing, statistical problems in optics, optical switching, and speckle phenomena.  His early work focused on noise and nonlinearities in holography, electronic detection and digital reconstruction of holograms, and the statistical properties of optical speckle patterns.

Goodman joined the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University in 1967.  He chaired the department from 1989 to 1996, and then served as senior associate dean of engineering until 2000.    He is the author of the Introduction to Fourier Optics (now in its 3rd edition), Statistical OpticsSpeckle Phenomena in Optics, and co-author of Fourier Transforms: An Introduction for Engineers

Since retiring from Stanford in 2000, Dr. Goodman has devoted time to philanthropic activities, including administering the J.W. and H.M. Goodman Family Charitable Foundation.  In 2005, he and his wife, Hon Mai Goodman, endowed a book-writing prize, the Goodman Book Writing Award, which recognizes a recent and influential book in the field of optics and photonics.  The award is co-sponsored by OSA and SPIE.

Goodman has held numerous leadership positions in the optics community. He was the 1988-1990 President of the International Commission for Optics (ICO). He has served OSA as a traveling lecturer, technical group leader, conference organizer, journal editor, Board of Directors member and 1992 President. He also served as a director of several corporations, including Optivision, Inc., where he was a co-founder, ONI Systems and E-TEK Dynamics.

Dr. Goodman is a Fellow of OSA, IEEE, and SPIE. He is the recipient of many prestigious awards including OSA’s Frederic Ives Medal / Jarus W. Quinn Prize, Max Born Award, Esther Hoffman Beller Medal and Emmett Leith Award. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1987, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1996.

In 2018, he was named an Honorary Member of OSA, for fundamental contributions in the fields of Fourier Optics and Optical Information Processing through his research, teaching and classic textbooks.

Since I retired, I have been working primarily on books. I’ve published three books so far, and I’m working on a fourth … I really enjoy bringing these books up to date. I’m inspired by book writing.

Joseph Goodman, OSA CAM Video Interview



Document Created: 12 Jun 2013
Last Updated: 25 Jul 2019