SPIE honors Spath with Visionary Award

June 18, 2009--During the 2009 SPIE Europe Optical Metrology congress, held this week together with Laser World of Photonics (Munich, Germany, June 15-18), Prof. Dr. h. c. Lothar Spath received the SPIE Visionary Award. SPIE President Maria Yzuel presented Späth with the award to honor his "visionary guidance of Jenoptik AG and the Jena optics community to its recognition as a world leader in its industry, providing technological solutions to challenges of the world and its future."

June 18, 2009--During the 2009 SPIE Europe Optical Metrology congress, held this week in conjunction with Laser World of Photonics (Munich, Germany, June 15-18), Prof. Dr. h. c. Lothar Spath received the SPIE Visionary Award. SPIE President Maria Yzuel presented Spath with the award to honor his "visionary guidance of Jenoptik AG and the Jena optics community to its recognition as a world leader in its industry, providing technological solutions to challenges of the world and its future."

Spath was chairman of Jenoptik AG when it was established in 1991 as the legal successor to the previously publicly owned (VEB) Carl Zeiss Jena. He had been charged with closing down the historic operation, but saw the industry's potential in the area, and instead reorganized and expanded the optical engineering company, transforming it into a public company listed in 1998.

Jenoptik's success and the restructuring of today's Carl Zeiss Jena helped revitalize the optics industry throughout the region. As a result, Jena, once the cradle of optical technology where Zeiss, Schott, and Abbe established a science- and technology-based industry from what had been essentially a craft, has since reclaimed its role as an innovative center for optics.

Spath previously served as Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg, and later as the Royal Norwegian Consul General for Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt as well as President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of East Thuringia. After leaving Jenoptik, he hosted "Spath am Abend" on the German TV station n-tv, a popular interview and commentary programme concerned with economics and politics. This was followed by a weekly broadcast "Spath zur Woche" on the same station, commenting on current politics.

Highly respected in Germany and around the world, Spath serves on the boards of several corporations, and has authored several books on political, media, and economic issues. He has received several honorary doctorships and other awards including the J. McCloy Award from the American Council on Germany. In 2002, The Economist said of him, "His name is a byword for economic dynamism and entrepreneurial flair."

The SPIE Europe Optical Metrology event is co-located with World of Photonics 2009. SPIE Europe is one of eight partners providing technical conferences as part of the biennial event which also includes the Laser World of Photonics exhibition. The European Optical Society (EOS) and German Scientific Laser Society (WLT) are participating as cooperating organizations of SPIE Europe Optical Metrology.

Chairs of the Optical Metrology congress are Wolfgang Osten, Universitat Stuttgart, Germany; Malgorzata Kujawinska, Politechnika Warszawska, Poland; and Pietro Ferraro, Istituto Nazionale di Ottica Applicata, Italy. SPIE is an international optics and photonics society, founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies.

For more information visit the SPIE Europe Optical Metrology website: spie.org/optical-metrology.xml.

Posted by Barbara G. Goode, barbarag@pennwell.com, for Laser Focus World.

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