1985 OSA President Robert R. Shannon attended the University of Rochester receiving a B.S. in 1954 and an M.A. in 1957. He began his career at a fruitful time in optics. After working as a graduate assistant at Rochester, Shannon took a position as staff physicist and senior lens designer with Itek Corp. in 1959. Eight years later he became manager of optical systems within Itek’s engineering department and just a year later became director of Itek’s Advanced Technology Labs.
In 1969, Shannon left Itek for the University of Arizona where he became a professor of optical sciences. He took the helm of the Optical Sciences Center in 1984 and led the center until 1992 when he was appointed professor emeritus, optical sciences.
During his career Shannon’s research focused on the use of computers for testing and optical design; metrication of large optical systems; design of synthetic-aperture optical systems; analysis and design of unobscured-aperture optical systems; optical fabrication and test methods; and optical data storage technology.
He has provided leadership to the optics community as an active member of a number of societies. He was president of SPIE and served on the Board of Governors. He was also a member of OSA’s Board of Directors. He was a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and is a member of Aerospace Corporation’s Board of Trustees.
Shannon’s contributions have earned numerous awards including SPIE’s Goddard Award and Gold Medal and membership in the National Academy of Engineering. Shannon is a fellow of OSA and SPIE.
Shannon lives in Arizona.
Optics has the ability to be very tangible. You actually make things that people use, and I think that appeals to a lot of people somewhat more than the abstract concepts you’ll find in various other branches of science. So I think that was what turned me into going into that direction. I got very intrigued with the idea of lens design and optical engineering and so on as a result of that.