Scholarship and Outreach in Optics

Oct. 16, 2015

For his accomplishments in the field of optics and his commitment to providing opportunities for future generations of optical scientists and engineers, Kevin Thompson has been named the UA College of Optical Sciences' 2015 Alumnus of the Year.

According to University of Arizona professor emeritus James Wyant, founding dean of the College of Optical Sciences, Kevin Thompson is widely considered among the top five optical designers in the world.

Currently a leader in optics research and development at Synopsys Inc., Thompson is also a fellow of the two major international professional optical societies, with more than 35 refereed publications in optics design and aberration theory. 

Thompson, who hold four patents, was the 2013 recipient of the A.E. Conrady Award, given annually in recognition of exceptional contributions in design, construction and testing of optical systems and instrumentation. Among his noteworthy achievements was his role as the principal optical designer for the null lenses for the highly successful first servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope.

Despite the demands of his career, Thompson finds time to share his knowledge and passion for optics, photonics and STEM education through publications, article reviews, presentations and mentoring.

His contributions to the College of Optical Sciences have been profound, as he has served on its development board since 2009. With his wife, professor Jannick Rolland, also a graduate of the college, Thompson provided leadership gifts critical to the establishment of four Friends of Tucson Optics scholarships.

The UA Alumni Association will honor all recipients of the 2015 Alumni of the Year Awards during an Oct. 23 event to be held 3-5 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center. For more information, contact the Alumni Association at 520-621-7576.