The Center for Freeform Optics
An Industry/University Cooperative Research Center

Students, Faculty, and Staff

The late Kevin Thompson, who served as a visiting scientist at The Institute of Optics, has been honored by The Optical Society, which has named a new award in his honor. Kevin was a leading expert in understanding the aberration fields of a new class of nonsymmetric optical systems using freeform optical surfaces.
Presented for 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.
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 Michael Kidger Memorial Scholarship is to be awarded to a student of optical design, where the term ‘optical design’ is meant to include lens design, illumination design and computational optical design.
Applicants are invited to apply


The Synopsys Optical Solutions Group, invites you to participate in its Robert S. Hilbert Memorial Optical Design Competition, which recognizes excellence in optical design projects completed by students.

The competition honors the memory of Bob Hilbert (1941-2008), former President and Chief Executive Officer of ORA. Bob was a dynamic and respected leader who was actively involved in all aspects of ORA business, from shaping important CODE V and LightTools software features to supporting key optical design and engineering initiatives. Bob had served ORA since 1975, and was deeply committed throughout his career to fostering technical innovation in optics, enabling customer success, mentoring staff, and supporting optics education. He received B.S. and M.S. Degrees in Optics from the University of Rochester, was an SPIE Fellow, and held seven U.S. Patents in the field of optics.

To participate, students can enter an optical design class assignment or thesis work completed during the 2019-2020 academic year using any of our software tools: CODE V, LightTools, LucidShape, RSoft Photonic Device Tools, Photonic System Tools, and PIC Design Suite. Awards totaling $10,000 will be granted. The entry deadline is June 15, 2021. Winners will be announced in August.

About the Competition

Each year, a scholarship of $4,000 USD is awarded to a student pursuing a degree in the field of precision optics manufacturing. There are four core universities associated with this program (University of Rochester, the University of Arizona, the University of Central Florida, and Monroe Community College), but applicants at any university in the US are eligible to apply.
Application Dates:
Application Opens: May 10, 2021
Application Closes: July 7, 2021
Applicants Must: Be an accepted or enrolled in an optics manufacturing program.
Be at a minimum an active half-time student (Undergraduate or Graduate) at an institution in the United States
Intend to work in the US. optics manufacturing industry upon graduation.
Agree to complete and submit a Scholarship Report if they are selected as a scholarship recipient.
About Harvey M. Pollicove Memorial Scholarship

SPIE Optics and Photonics Education Scholarships are open to students located anywhere in the world who are studying optics, photonics, or related fields.
You must be a Student Member of SPIE. The standard Student Membership fee is $20.
High school, pre-university, and secondary school students can receive a one-year complimentary Student Membership. Fill in the Pre-College Membership Application Form and email to
You must be enrolled in an optics, photonics, or other related program (e.g., physics, electrical engineering, photonics technician) for the entire school year beginning in Fall 2020. Applicants who have received a terminal degree such as MD, JD, PhD, etc. are not eligible to apply.
The 2021 application is open.